There was to be no fifth straight Premier League victory for Newcastle as the recent winning run was halted by Everton in Rafa Benitez’s 100th match in charge of the club.
After winning four league matches in a row, United went into the game knowing three points would see them leapfrog Everton into ninth position in the table and strengthen their extraordinary claim for a top-half finish this season.
But this proved to be a frustrating night for Benitez following a disappointing display from his players in this 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park and a harsh decline in standards from the victory over Arsenal at St James’ Park last time out.
In the end it was a scruffy Theo Walcott goal five minutes after half-time that settled this dull Monday night fixture, a mixture of careless Newcastle defending and blind luck for the Toffees forward as a deep Yannick Bolasie cross ricocheted off an unwitting and poorly positioned Deandre Yedlin into Walcott’s path, allowing him to control the ball and fire beyond Martin Dubravka.
Careless would be the most fitting adjective to describe this performance as Everton completed the double over Newcastle – both by a 1-0 scoreline – and denied Benitez the chance to celebrate reaching a century of matches as United boss.