Everton manager David Moyes branded John Heitinga’s own-goal 'a joke' after his team were condemned to their fifth defeat in their last six Premier League games by Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
The Scot lamented the Dutch international’s wayward defending that gifted high-flying Newcastle an early lead when he inadvertently diverted Danny Simpson’s cross to put the Magpies on their way to their seventh win of the season with a 2-1 victory.
Moyes insisted that referee Andre Marriner should have awarded his team a second-half penalty for handball but also expressed regret at his side’s inability to make the most of a series of goal-scoring chances, with Louis Saha the biggest culprit.
“We created a lot of chances in the first half but if you miss them then it should still be 0-0 but we gave them two very simple goals, especially the first one,” Moyes told reporters in his post-match press conference.
“The own goal was a joke and the second one wasn’t an awful lot better but you have to give the boy a bit of credit because it was a terrific finish.”
Heitinga never recovered from that early set-back while Newcastle capitalised on their misfortune when Ryan Taylor doubled their lead, and even though Jack Rodwell pulled a goal back just before half-time, Everton were unable to force an equaliser despite a spirited comeback.
“If you are looking at chances we probably had more chances than Newcastle in the first half,” Moyes added.
“When we scored just before half-time I fancied our chances of getting something. We had hit the inside of the post and there were a couple of other opportunities ballooned over the bar.
“That goal gave us a lifeline and meant we could try and go after them. We tried to but we couldn’t quite get the opening. We didn’t get as many chances as I would have liked but it was a stonewall penalty when it hit his [Dan Gosling’s] hand. The ball was going in as well. The goalkeeper wasn’t getting it. But we came here not expecting to get anything from anybody.”
Moyes’ team might be hovering just above the Premier League relegation zone but the Merseyside club have been bolstered by the return to fitness of key figures such as Sylvain Distin.
“We had everyone fit today bar Victor Anichebe,” Moyes went on. “For anyone thinking there are lots of players to come back at Everton that is not the case but Tim Cahill and Sylvain Distin made a difference when they came on.”