Analysis: Newcastle’s season has gone up in smoke

SPOT ON ... Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring his side's second goal.
SPOT ON ... Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring his side's second goal.

WHEN everyone else is losing their head, Fabricio Coloccini normally keeps his.

Not at Goodison Park yesterday, however.

Coloccini lost his head in Newcastle United’s 3-0 defeat to Everton.

And the club has now lost him for three games.

Another game, another man down.

No wonder a chant of ‘we’re ****, and we’re sick of it” was heard from the away end in the dying minutes of the Premier League match.

RED CARD ... Coloccini.

RED CARD ... Coloccini.

Newcastle, a club which pulls in 50,000 fans every home game and rakes his tens of millions of pounds in TV revenues every season, has just one fit and available senior centre-half.

Just one. Mike Williamson.

Coloccini, of course, must take his share of the blame for his actions – there is an extra responsibility on the shoulders of the captain on and off the pitch – but the club’s squad has long been short of numbers at the back.

And it has long needed addressing.

It could be a long couple of months now before the curtain is pulled down on another forgettable season at St James’s Park.

Yet Mapou-Yanga-Mbiwa has been sold this season, and Davide Santon and Remie Streete were loaned out in the January transfer window.

It could be a long couple of months now before the curtain is pulled down on another forgettable season at St James’s Park.

Fortune seemingly favoured the brave at Goodison Park given the tired legs in the home team after their Europa League exertions against Dynamo three days earlier on the same pitch.

And head coach John Carver was brave, but not in the way fans were expecting.

Carver, without suspended top scorer Papiss Demba Cisse, left Ayoze Perez on the bench and fielded Yoan Gouffran as a second attacker with Emmanuel Riviere, yet to score a Premier League goal for the club he joined last summer.

It was certainly brave from Carver, who fielded Moussa Sissoko, along with Perez the team’s most potent available attacker, in a deeper role.

But it wasn’t the bold attacking selection that United’s supporters had craved.

And the afternoon slowly unravelled after a promising start.

Newcastle had an early opportunity in front of the Gwladys Street Stand.

Gabriel Obertan forced a save from Tim Howard with a volley, and Mike Williamson got a foot to the loose ball for a follow-up effort. His shot was blocked by James McCarthy.

Romelu Lukaku – who had tormented United in this fixture last season – struck a fierce left-foot drive in the sixth minute, but goalkeeper Tim Krul was equal to his low effort.

Krul, however, was at fault later in the half for Everton’s opening goal.

Lukaku took a ball forward from captain Phil Jagielka in the 20th minute and laid it off for McCarthy, whose low shot rolled past an out-of-position Krul.

It had been a promising start from United, and the club’s 3,000-strong following on Merseyside was soon urging Carver’s side to “attack, attack, attack”.

Taylor was a danger with his set-pieces, but Everton saw out the rest of the half comfortably as Carver and Steve Stone, his assistant, stood and watched impassively on the touchline.

And the pair were reminded of the Perez, sat behind them in the dugout, by the travelling fans on the side of the pitch.

Before the end of the half, Taylor hacked away a header from Antolin Alcaraz on the line.

Perez replaced Obertan for the second half, but he couldn’t change the course of the match.

Taylor put a free-kick just over Howard’s crossbar, and Everton’s edgy supporters, desperate for a second goal from their team, started to show their frustration as the half wore on.

But the goal wasn’t long in coming – and it owed everything to United.

Gouffran lost the ball in the box after making a poor touch, and he conceded a penalty with a clumsy challenge on Lennon. Lukaku stroked the resulting penalty past Krul.

But United’s afternoon was to get worse. Much worse.

Coloccini, normally so composed, lunged into Lennon, and he couldn’t complain when referee Martin Atkinson showed him a red card, though Carver felt the challenge wasn’t as bad it as looked.

Janmaat was switched to centre-half, and there were chances at both ends in the last minutes.

But the game was gone.

And Everton substitute Ross Barkley netted a third in injury-time.

Carver had likened himself to legendary firefighter Red Adair in his pre-match Press conference.

But even Adair would struggle to douse the flames that are threatening to engulf the team just weeks ahead of the all-important Wear-Tyne derby at the Stadium of Light.

The club’s campaign has seemingly gone up in smoke – with nine games still left to play.

@milesstarforth

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul 5; JANMAAT 6, Coloccini 3, Williamson 5, R Taylor 6; Colback 6, Sissoko 6; Obertan 4 (Perez, 46, 5), Gouffran 4, Ameobi 4; Riviere 4 (Gutierrez, 62, 5). Subs not used: Elliot, Satka, Anita, Armstrong.

EVERTON: Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Alcaraz, Coleman, McCarthy (Besic, 86), Gibson, Lennon (Atsu, 85), Osman, Kone, Lukaku (Barkley, 73). Subs not used: Joel, Naismith, Stones, Garbutt.

Man of the match: Daryl Janmaat. He could at least leave the pitch with his head held high. Others couldn’t.

Highlight: There wasn’t one – bar the final whistle.

Lowlight: Fabricio Coloccini’s dismissal. Reckless and needless.

Goals: McCarthy 20, Lukaku 56 (pen), Barkley 90

Bookings: R Taylor 28, Sissoko 55, Lennon 79

Sent off: Coloccini 59

Referee: Martin Atkinson (Bradford)

Attendance: 38,808