The mood stayed sombre at Goodison Park long after an emotional tribute to the victims of Hillsborough and their families’ indefatigable search for the truth. By the close it was a seething mass once more thanks to disallowed goals, legitimate goals not given and an emphatic riposte from Demba Ba towards his own manager. Football was back on its axis.

Everton anger was directed firmly at the assistant referee, who not only denied Marouane Fellaini a goal for offside when the Belgian midfielder was level but compounded his error when failing to spot that Victor Anichebe’s 79th-minute header had crossed the Newcastle United line. Richards, and Everton, almost escaped when Anichebe drove Everton back into the lead with two minutes remaining, yet there remained time for Ba, smarting from starting on the bench, to beat Tim Howard for a second time.

Alan Pardew, serving his touchline ban in the directors’ box, leapt from his seat at injury-hit Newcastle’s stirring response to a first-half display that he later branded the worst of his managerial tenure. On the touchline below David Moyes stewed. Moyes was right to be angry, replays suggest that the ball did pass the line. This happens and will continue to happen in football until goal line technology is enforced. I remember Newcastle falling under the same bracket last season.

Everton should have put the game to bed long before Newcastle and their makeshift defence roused themselves. The visitors’ recovery was inspired by Ba and aided by carelessness in the home ranks from Leon Osman, Sylvain Distin and Howard.

From a poignant beginning Everton eventually roused themselves as Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar tore through the Newcastle right. Everton wasted several more chances before Ba altered the flow of the contest. Baines had cleared a Vurnon Anita effort off the line in the first half but Everton were otherwise untroubled until Pardew, branded “crazy” on Twitter by Ba’s brother Hamady for leaving the Senegal striker on the bench, brought Ba on. A mistake by Osman handed possession to Yohan Cabaye and his fine pass enabled Ba to spin away from Phil Jagielka and beat Howard with a rolled finish.

Then came the mayhem. Fellaini was denied, as was Anichebe after Harper had turned his header on to the bar only to see it drop over the line. The Everton substitute unfortunately for us channeled his fury superbly to spin on to Pienaar’s pass and find the bottom corner but Ba, latching on to Shola Ameobi’s flick, had the final say in a superb match.

By Jonathan Silman