Everton 1 Newcastle United 0

Last updated : 27 November 2005 By Footymad Previewer
As tributes go this ill-tempered and disjointed contest between two of the season's great underachievers was hardly fitting to the legend that was George Best.

On a weekend of heartfelt tributes to the former Manchester United legend, Newacstle and Everton produced a dire display of football.

Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy was quoted as saying after his side lost to Birmingham: "It was two rubbish teams playing rubbish football."

It was perhaps only because of the accuracy of the ex-Republic of Ireland boss' comments that the two sides on show at Goodison are not closer to the bottom of the Premiership.

Joseph Yobo's first goal of the season was enough to secure all three points for David Moyes' side, but both teams had referee Howard Webb to thank for ending with their full complement of players still on the pitch.

He took a lenient view to Tim Cahill and Celestine Babayaro's heated scrap minutes before half-time. Both players caught one another in the face with a combination of slaps and elbows, before Webb choice to give each a telling-off, rather than brandishing any cards.

The incident was one of many flashpoints as both Alan Shearer and Nolberto Solano escaped punishment for two blatant elbows on their Everton markers.

Blues forward James McFadden also escaped a red after referee and linesman failed to spot him handling Shola Ameobi's goalbound shot on the line.

But such flashpoints were a welcome break from technically inept performance. Neither side seemed capable of stringing two passes together as they continued to pump hopeful long balls up front to nobody.

Only Newcastle's slightly superior personal gave them the first-half edge as Shearer twice went close in a period of light pressure, but this was not champagne football, it was two very ordinary teams banging away at each other hoping for a mistake.

Moyes' half-time rocket to his lacklusture troops finally seemed to do the trick as the vibrant Blues started the second period with a goal inside a minute.

McFadden's jinking run and shot from the kick-off was pushed wide by the excellent Shay Given and from the resulting corner Yobo powered his header past the desperate lunge of Emre to give Everton a most unlikely lead.

Beattie had an opportunity to put the game well beyond doubt 11 minutes from time as Everton applied the pressure which made so many sides crumble last season.

Simon Davies clever cut back found the ex-Southampton striker with the goal at his mercy, but from ten yards out he could only blast a sidefooted effort high over the bar to further cement his reputation as one of the game's big-money flops.

The win gave Everton a vital three points and further piled the pressure on the sagging shoulders of Graeme Souness.

The tributes to Best will go on and on and unlike this game, the memory of his genius will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come.