Callum Wilson double rewards Newcastle in win over Everton


Steve Bruce has been reading Carlo Ancelotti’s autobiography, Quiet Leadership, and reports it worthy of the sort of five-star reviews his own team merited after derailing Everton’s bright start to the season.

Indeed the suspicion was that Newcastle’s manager had seized inspiration from his book at bedtime on a day when, the debutant Robin Olsen apart, Ancelotti’s admittedly somewhat ersatz side were decidedly second best as they succumbed to two Callum Wilson goals.

“I couldn’t be more pleased,” said Bruce. “We knew it would be a battle against one of the great managers but we deserved it. Tactically, we were right.” With Seamus Coleman and James Rodríguez injured and Lucas Digne and Richarlison suspended, the Italian was forced into a reshuffle. It involved the selection of five central midfielders in a visiting starting XI low on pace and width.

That ensemble also lacked Jordan Pickford, the England goalkeeper having been demoted to the bench with Everton’s manager claiming he was rested rather than dropped. The former Sunderland man will have been disappointed not to face a Newcastle team he has long relished attempting to undo. It cannot have helped that his unwanted seat on the sidelines afforded a rather dull view of a decidedly low-octane Everton display.

If featured an experimental 4-2-3-1 formation in which Ancelotti had apparently instructed Fabian Delph to shuttle between a holding midfield role and stand in cameos at left-back whenever Niels Nkounkou attempted, usually forlornly, to advance.

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Olsen, Pickford’s replacement, initially had little to do. More than 30 minutes had passed before the Sweden goalkeeper, borrowed from Roma, was called to arms after Newcastle counterattacked smartly from an Everton corner and Miguel Almirón and Callum Wilson combined cleverly to create a shooting chance for Allan Saint-Maximin.

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Rising to the challenge, Olsen advanced from his line, spread himself and, exuding competence, saved the Frenchman’s attempted dink. Maybe Pickford has serious competition at club, as well as international, level after all? Bruce looked considerably happier than Ancelotti and had reason to believe Newcastle’s return to a revamped version of 3-5-2 now offers his side a judicious balance between much-needed stability and counterattacking menace.

This mood of rare Tyneside optimism was symbolised by the appearance of a stunning rainbow arcing over the Gallowgate end following a rain shower.

Newcastle v Everton



Callum Wilson scores Newcastle’s second goal from close range. Photograph: Alex Pantling/PA

Appropriately enough, its arrival coincided with Wilson giving Newcastle the lead from the penalty spot after the scorer’s stumble in the face of André Gomes’s clumsy challenge. Wilson had evidently avoided being distracted by the escalation of a long-running dispute with Yerry Mina in the preamble to the penalty that resulted in a booking for the striker. When Sean Longstaff, excellent in central midfield, subsequently collected Wilson’s typically shrewd pass, swivelled sharply and shot low Newcastle looked set to extend their lead but Olsen saved brilliantly.

The goalkeeper had no answer to Wilson though as the striker again evaded his reach in the 84th minute. This time Jamal Lewis’s long pass liberated Ryan Fraser and, with the substitute having dodged Mina’s attempted challenge, his lofted cross deflected off the back-pedalling Mina and was steered in from close range by Wilson, well positioned at the far post.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin reduced the deficit after getting a toe to Alex Iwobi’s deflected stoppage-time cross yet Ancelotti was not deceived. “It was not a good performance,” he said. “But Robin Olsen was good, he was in control. I am used to rotating goalkeepers so it won’t be the last time he plays.”



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