Newcastle United were made to pay the price for an insipid first-half performance at Goodison Park as their stirring second-half fight-back failed to reap any reward against Everton.
The inconsistency that has stalked Alan Pardew’s efforts to re-invigorate his reign came back with a vengeance last night as Newcastle shipped two goals to Romelu Lukaku and precocious talent Ross Barkley during a dreadfully poor first 45 minutes.
Their second-half recovery, which was prompted by substitute Yohan Cabaye, saw them come within a whisker of recording one of the greatest comebacks in recent black and white history.
Cabaye’s pile-driver set the scene for a vast improvement before Loic Remy nabbed a last-minute goal to give Newcastle hope of taking a point from a remarkable match.
The question is whether you take more from the second-half recovery or the alarming first-half performance – and in front of owner Mike Ashley and director of football Joe Kinnear, that is a query that will be exercising Pardew.
His team were dreadful defensively for 45 minutes with Fabricio Coloccini, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Tim Krul all culpable for the goals that left United with a mountain to climb.
But their attacking threat was there for all to see during a second half which Pardew must take into Saturday’s trip to Cardiff to alleviate the pressure.