10-man Everton snatched a 99th-minute winner to secure a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United on Thursday.
This was the first time this season that Newcastle faced a side below them in the table, but it was Everton who looked the stronger side early on. Buoyed by a raucous Goodison crowd, the Toffees played with immense energy in the opening stages to stamp their authority on the game.
Newcastle did well to weather the storm and settled into the game around the 15-minute mark, taking control of possession but failing to make the most of that in front of goal. Chris Wood couldn't control a header and Fabian Schar failed with an audacious 40-yard lob of Asmir Begovic.
It was almost one-way traffic in Newcastle's favour for the best part of half an hour, with Everton looking woeful at times, but the Toffees offered something resembling a spark in the dying embers of the first half to keep their fans interested for the second 45.
The second half got off to a bizarre start. After just a few minutes, a fan ran from the crowd and cable-tied themselves to the goalpost, leading to a lengthy stoppage in play while some comically oversized bolt cutters eventually got them loose.
That took the sting out of the game and it took the players a while to get back up to speed. The next chance fell to Newcastle's Bruno Guimaraes, whose scuffed shot had Begovic scrambling but the stopper eventually cleared his lines.
Everton fought back and, predictably, it was through Anthony Gordon. His strike from outside the box stung the gloves of Martin Dubravka.
However, in the 81st minute VAR helped hand a red card to Allan for a nasty challenge which felt more cynical than anything else.
With the protest and the obscene number of scrappy fouls, we were hit with a whopping 14 minutes of stoppage time.
Newcastle attacked and attacked and attacked as the clock wound down. They put a lot of pressure on Begovic's goal but lacked the quality in front of goal to really make a difference.
Against the run of play, Everton brought their first bit of quality in the 99th minute as Alex Iwobi fired past Dubravka to send the Goodison faithful wild and secure a massive three points.
Everton player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Asmir Begovic (GK) - 6/10 - Did well to keep Newcastle out. A brilliant save to deny Guimaraes.
Seamus Coleman (RB) - 6/10 - Made to work very, very hard. Some solid defending.
Michael Keane (CB) - 6/10 - Under a lot of pressure but dealt with most of it quiet well. A little weak in the air.
Mason Holgate (CB) - 6/10 - Some mixed moments but generally kept Newcastle at bay.
Ben Godfrey (LB) - 6/10 - Had Everton's only shot of the first half four minutes in. Rarely looked threatened by Almiron.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM) - 3/10 - Looked fatigued after Everton's hot start. Couldn't control the ball and fortunate not to get an early booking.
Allan (CM) - 5/10 - Had to do the work of two men in midfield and inevitably came up short. A little unfortunate with his red card but lost all composure after he was dismissed.
Demarai Gray (RM) - 3/10 - Barely involved. Looks a shell of the 'signing of the season' he was earlier this year.
Anthony Gordon (AM) - 6/10 - Led by example with real energy and some crunching tackles.
Alex Iwobi (LM) - 6/10 - Really isolated for the most part but made the difference with an excellent goal.
Richarlison (ST) - 5/10 - Put himself about but couldn't get control of the game at all. Spent a lot of time on the floor.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (ST, 76' for Gray) - 6/10 - Didn't have long on the field before Everton went a man down, but still showed his class with a nice pass for Iwobi's winner.
Andre Gomes (CM, 87' for Richarlison) - 6/10 - Had to work hard to cope with the man disadvantage.
Andros Townsend (RW, 105' for Gordon) - N/A
Newcastle player ratings
5. Goalkeeper & defenders
Martin Dubravka (GK) - 6/10 - Had very little to do. Unfortunate not to get a clean sheet.
Emil Krafth (RB) - 6/10 - Very decent. Not the greatest in attack but had a few nice moments.
Fabian Schar (CB) - 7/10 - Kept Everton's forwards very quiet. No idea why he tried to score from 40 yards.
Dan Burn (CB) - 7/10 - Some monstrous headers. Could have easily had two yellow cards in the first half.
Matt Targett (LB) - 6/10 - Classy as ever. Kept Everton's wingers incredibly quiet.
Bruno Guimaraes (DM) - 7/10 - Some really classy moments on the ball. Had to deal with Gordon's immense pressure but did so well.
Joe Willock (CM) - 5/10 - Not at his best. Couldn't get control of the midfield battle.
Joelinton (CM) - 5/10 - Played with real energy but without much finesse.
Miguel Almiron (RW) - 5/10 - Had a glorious run with the ball just seconds before he was taken off. A little unfair.
Chris Wood (ST) - 4/10 - Tried to put himself about but his lack of quality in the final third was a problem.
Ryan Fraser (LW) - 6/10 - Had some nice moments with the ball but guilty of a few sloppy passes.
Allan Saint-Maximin (RW, 70' for Almiron) - 6/10 - Didn't offer the kind of energy you'd hope, but it was his run that led to Allan's dismissal.
Jacob Murphy (LW, 85' for Fraser) - 6/10 - Added to Newcastle's late overload.
Javier Manquillo (RB, 92' for Krafth) - N/A