Toffees unstuck in Magpies draw
Demba Ba scored a second-half brace as Newcastle recorded a draw at Everton
Everton justifiably felt aggrieved after having two goals controversially ruled out before Newcastle snatched a late 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
Substitute Victor Anichebe, whose earlier header had appeared to cross the line but was not given, thought he had won it three minutes from time before Demba Ba scored his second of the night.
Leighton Baines had put the hosts ahead in the 15th minute only for Ba to score with virtually his first touch after coming on at half-time.
Marouane Fellaini's effort was ruled out on a questionable offside decision before Anichebe's disallowed goal added to the controversy.
The pre-match focus was on recognising the fight of Hillsborough campaigners in their battle for justice after the publication of last week's independent report. In addition to two mascots wearing an Everton number nine shirt and a Liverpool top with the number 6, the names of all victims of the disaster scrolled across Goodison's television screen accompanied by the Hollies' 'He Ain't Heavy...He's My Brother'.
Nikica Jelavic had an early goal disallowed for offside but it set the tempo and when the breakthrough came in the 15th minute it was no more than the hosts deserved. A 17-pass move merely reflected the Toffees' dominance as Baines raced onto a clever backheel from Steven Pienaar to fire past Steve Harper.
Kevin Mirallas, Everton's £6million summer signing impressed on his first league start, but the loss of Croatia international Jelavic with a knee injury just before the interval was a blow to the home side - but not as much as Ba's equaliser just after the break.
Within four minutes of being introduced, the half-time substitute hit a low shot past Tim Howard after Yohan Cabaye robbed Leon Osman and rolled a perfectly-weighted diagonal pass into his path.
Fellaini had a goal ruled out for offside before Anichebe's header tipped onto the crossbar by Harper appeared to bounce down over the line before Mike Williamson cleared.
Anichebe left no room for doubt three minutes from time when he turned in the penalty area to fire home but Everton's celebrations were short-lived when Ba latched on to Shola Ameobi's knockdown to roll a shot under Howard.
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It seems to me that the most important thing about tonight was that Everton and their fans (Geordies too) showed massive respect for the 96 before the game and that football rivalry can be transcended by the events of Hillsborough and the 23 years of suppression of the facts. The city as a whole was united in it's support of the families and people of Liverpool affected by that tragedy-we are a city and a family and although we may support different teams and wear different colours tonight we were together as one. It was great to see and the Hollies track was a brilliant tribute from the blue side of Merseyside to the red side.
As for the game....We were ROBBED!!!
Full respect to Everton Football Club and their fans for what was a quite emotional show of respect for the 96.
There is hope for football yet !