This defeat underlined one indisputable fact about Newcastle United under Steve Bruce

At last, a full St James’s Park. Unfortunately, there was little to celebrate at the final whistle after Newcastle United’s eight-game home unbeaten run was brought to an end.

Saturday, 28th December 2019, 5:00 pm

Everton won 2-1 thanks to two goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose Premier League goal tally now stands at nine. Newcastle’s strike, typically, came from Fabian Schar, a defender.

And that’s the thing, Newcastle, averaging a goal a game, STILL aren’t scoring enough.

The game was played in front of a gate of 52,211 after the club gave away 10,000 half-season tickets in response to dwindling attendances.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Fabian Schar celebrates his goal.

Those returning fans saw good and bad from Newcastle, who started badly, improved and then lost after giving the ball away in midfield.

Andy Carroll came back into the side along with Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden and DeAndre Yedlin and Bruce, again, started with two up front. It didn’t work.

Everton quickly took the initiative – and the the lead followed. A disputed free-kick from Gylfi Sigurdsson struck the ball, and the second delivery found Calvert-Lewin, who netted for the second successive game.

Theo Walcott, in particular, was a threat down Newcastle’s left during a difficult first 20 minutes, while United didn’t get close enough to Tom Davies in midfield.

Bruce changed to a 3-4-3 formation midway through the half, the Newcastle pushed hard for an equaliser before the break, and former Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford – whose every touch was booed – did well to palm away a shot from Schar.

Dubravka denied Moise Kean after the interval, but the ball was soon in the Everton net.

Jetro Willems delivered a 56th-minute free-kick from the left which was knocked down to Schar by Carroll, who was making defensive headers at the start of the half. Schar swept the ball home to equalise.

However, a mistake from Carroll was to prove costly. The striker lost the ball in midfield and Everton quickly broke forward. Walcott slipped the ball to Richarlison. Calvery-Lewin netted from Richarlison’s ball.

This time, there was no way back for United.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Lejeune (Atsu, 74), Willems (S Longstaff, 85); Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Joelinton (Gayle, 74); Carroll. Subs not used: Darlow, Manquillo, Krafth, M Longstaff.