By Chief Sports Writer, Marley Anderson

Newcastle United started 2013 the way they ended 2012, by running out of steam and suffering another defeat. Victor Anichebe was the match winner for David Moyes’ Everton side, coming off the bench to complete the comeback after Leighton Baines had cancelled Papiss Cisse’s opener with a stunning free-kick.

Much of the talk before the game surrounded Demba Ba, who was left out of the squad as he finalises his £7m move to Chelsea. With Ba all but departed, Cisse was left to prove he has what it takes to step up to the mark and lead the Magpies’ attack.

Still being played in the wide right role with Shola Ameobi as the centre forward, Cisse took just two minutes to make the 49,000 crowd forget about release clauses and the January transfer window.

A long goal kick from Tim Krul wasn’t dealt with by the visiting defence and while Sylvain Distin and Jonny Heitinga argued after colliding, Cisse nodded over Tim Howard to give the Geordies an early, morale-boosting lead.

Baines was one of the eye-catching players who tried to drag Everton level as he tested Krul on numerous occasions. First, the left-back struck a trademark free-kick towards goal only to see it turned away by the Dutch keeper, before Krul smothered bravely at the England man’s feet after a scramble.

Eventually though, the defender got the better of everyone with a long range stunner. A 30-yard free kick beat the Newcastle wall and swerved wickedly, leaving Krul with no chance and handing Everton the equaliser.

Before the leveller came, James Perch had headed against a post for Newcastle, narrowly missing out on his second goal in three games after notching his maiden Magpies goal against Manchester United on Boxing Day.

Ameobi went close after the break as Newcastle endeavoured for a second goal, controlling Vurnon Anita’s lofted pass before beating Howard with a shot that trickled narrowly wide.

However, the turning point came when David Moyes turned to his bench and introduced Anichebe, who found the net within 90 seconds of arriving. A lovely move – predictably down Everton’s left flank – involved the returning Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic and culminated in the Croatian striker crossing for Anichebe to tuck home.

The goal sucked the life out of the home side and the difference was apparent when Alan Pardew looked to his bench. Bringing on Sammy Ameobi and Nile Ranger to try and nick a goal was never going to give too much hope, although the Geordies had a couple of half chances.

Cisse had the chance for his second when he connected with a cross, only to see his header blocked by Phil Jagielka and then his instinctive volley easily repelled by Howard.

Maybe the biggest chance though came to Davide Santon. The Italian full back motored down the left before finding himself one on one with Howard, but instead of rolling the ball across for the unmarked Cisse, Santon shot tamely into Howard and the chance went begging.

The defeat leaves Newcastle just two points above the relegation zone, but with performances notably improving and key players nearing full fitness again, it can only be a matter of time before the Geordies start clawing their way out of danger. By the time they play Norwich in their next Premier League fixture, Mathieu Debuchy will have signed and another striker may be on the way in, meaning Alan Pardew can enjoy having options regarding his squad selection, rather than be forced to pick the only fit players he has at his disposal.