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Audacious Almirón secures St James’ stronghold

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Miguel Almirón’s intricate first-half lob helped Newcastle United to extend their unbeaten run at St James’ to seven Premier League matches as the Magpies edged Everton to a 1-0 home victory.

With 10 Premier League draws between them this season, it was perhaps unsurprising to see a cagey start between Newcastle and Everton in this contest. But, a vociferous St James’ Park soon roared the Magpies on to try and land the first glove following a 5-1 mauling of Brentford in their most recent home match. One goalscorer from that encounter, Jacob Murphy, decided to go for the direct approach when he glided inside two defenders and whipped a powerful effort just over the crossbar from 25 yards.

Hoping to keep their first clean sheet in six, there was clear relief from the Everton defence that Murphy’s effort evaded the top corner, but the Toffees soon came under heavy pressure from an aggressive Newcastle that hadn’t tasted defeat at home since April. Eventually, the Toffees’ rearguard crumbled under the Tynesiders’ intensity, and Almirón scored his fourth goal in as many matches in style, lifting a perfectly weighted effort over a full-stretch Jordan Pickford.

Everton played with more attacking intent early in the second half, desperate to improve on their recent record of just two wins from their last 22 away matches. Newcastle had their own ambitions – namely, to record back-to-back clean sheets since August – and the home side’s well-drilled defence limited their opponents to wayward crosses and speculative strikes. Another goal would have settled the growing nervousness around St James’, and Almirón nearly eased the tension with a swerving effort that flew inches past the post.

Newcastle managed the late Everton pressure with ease in a thoroughly professional performance that delighted Eddie Howe, as his side recorded a third win in four. Everton’s recent six-match unbeaten run now seems a distant memory following three consecutive Premier League defeats and issues on the road continue to torment Frank Lampard’s struggling side.

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