WORLD Cup hopeful Ross Barkley scored one of the goals of the season as Everton condemned Newcastle to a 3-0 defeat at St James’s Park.
The England international stated his case eloquently in the victory over United, with a superb solo effort to remind Roy Hodgson of his blossoming talent.
Barkley’s contribution was little short of stunning as he produced a 22nd-minute run and finish worthy of winning any game in front of a largely stunned crowd of 47,266.
The 20-year-old picked up possession inside his own half and powered his way through the mesmerised home defence before blasting an unstoppable shot past keeper Tim Krul.
Team-mate Romelu Lukaku was just as clinical when he was presented with a chance to effectively kill the game off.
Gerard Deulofeu, who was a sizeable handful throughout, tested Krul with a skidding 52nd-minute effort from a tight angle, and then served the ball up on a plate for the Belgian to fire into the roof of the net for his 13th of the season.
To their credit, Newcastle did not throw in the towel as Cheik Tiote tested goalkeeper Tim Howard with a 57th-minute piledriver, and Yoan Gouffran sent a volley screaming just off target.
However, Lukaku might have doubled his tally 16 minutes from time but for a good reaction save by Krul, before Leon Osman cemented the victory with a third goal three minutes from time.
Everton were deserved winners on a night when absent Magpies boss Alan Pardew received confirmation, if he needed it, of just how far his squad have to go to compete on a regular basis with the top six.
The home side’s night was summed up 12 minutes from time when Vurnon Anita looked certain to score from substitute Hatem Ben Arfa’s cross, but missed the target from point-blank range.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Yanga-Mbiwa (Marveaux, 75), Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Sissoko, Anita, Tiote, Gouffran (Shola Ameobi, 90); de Jong (Ben Arfa, 59), Cisse. Subs not used: Elliot, Haidara, S.Taylor, Gosling.
EVERTON: Howard, Baines, Distin, Stones, Coleman, Barry, McCarthy, Deulofeu, Barkley (Naismith, 82), Osman, Lukaku. Subs not used: Robles, McGeady, Mirallas, Garbutt, Alcaraz, Browning.
Goals: Barkley 22, Lukaku 52, Osman 88
Bookings: Barry 64
Referee: Lee Mason (Bolton)
Attendance: 47,266 (1,850 Everton)