Belfast Telegraph

Everton end on a high

Newcastle's superb season concluded on a disappointing note as the Magpies' hopes of a top-four finish came to an end with a 3-1 defeat at Everton.

The Toffees opened the scoring in the 16th minute through Steven Pienaar's deflected effort and went 2-0 up in the 27th when Nikica Jelavic finished smartly at the second attempt after goalkeeper Tim Krul had blocked his initial shot.

Johnny Heitinga then netted a 65th-minute header and although Tony Hibbert scored an own-goal eight minutes later, it proved little more than a consolation for Newcastle, who finish outside the Champions League spots in fifth.

The Toffees went ahead when Marouane Fellaini teed-up Pienaar, whose strike from outside the box took a deflection off Magpies defender Mike Williamson and looped in.

Everton kept pushing forward and just before the half-hour they did double their advantage through their in-form marksman Jelavic. Having brought the ball down - possibly with his arm - and unleashed one shot which Krul saved, the Croat was alert to tuck away the rebound for his 11th goal since joining the Merseyside club in January.

Papiss Cisse dragged a shot wide moments after the restart, but Everton were swiftly back on the offensive, with Jelavic turning and firing wide.

Darron Gibson brought a save out of Krul with a free-kick and after Tim Howard had got in the way of a Demba Ba strike, the Toffees added a third goal. Heitinga was the man to head it home, connecting with another Gibson free-kick.

The job looked done for the hosts, but then Hibbert got in a mix-up and headed past his own goalkeeper. It threw Newcastle a lifeline, and Howard then did well to claw away a header from Cisse.

The visitors could offer no more, though, and Everton might have had a fourth by the end, with Tim Cahill being denied by Krul, Gibson shooting wide and Leon Osman hitting the post.

There were disappointing scenes after the final whistle as players from both sides got involved in a skirmish, with Cahill being shown a red card.

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