Ross Barkley scored two penalties and Aaron Lennon added another as Newcastle limped to another defeat to leave them rooted in the Premier League relegation zone.

Lennon’s 20-yard effort opened the scoring in the first half before the Toffees struck the woodwork no less than three times, before two defensive errors by the visitors allowed Barkley to net a pair of well-taken penalties.

This week has seen plenty of optimism around Newcastle, thanks to the money spent on new signings in the January transfer window. Andros Townsend made a full debut, while Seydou Doumbia watched from the bench.

However, the performance turned in at Goodison Park showed just how far the Magpies are from safety. There was nothing in the way of attacking intent from the visitors, only a succession of saves from their one stand-out player, Rob Elliot.

The former Charlton goalkeeper has been in stunning form this season and had it not been for him, the situation Newcastle find themselves in would be a great deal worse than it already is.

Tom Cleverley – who was excellent all night – was first to test Elliot as he smacked a low shot early on which the goalie turned away well down to his left.

Steve McClaren had chosen Ayoze Perez to lead the line against the Toffees and it looked like the wrong decision from the early stages. The young Spaniard was unable to hold anything up on the rare occasions Newcastle made it out of their own half and Everton had no trouble recovering possession.

Shortly after the 20 minute mark, Romelu Lukaku used his giant frame to back into Chancel Mbemba and win a free kick after the Congolese defender naively tried to steal the ball from behind.

The Belgian whipped the resulting set piece narrowly wide of Elliot’s goal but the breakthrough was coming and Lennon was the man who got it.

Receiving a pass on the edge of the box, Lennon was being urged to lay it off to Lukaku but instead turned on a sixpence and fired a shot back across goal that wrong-footed Elliot and found the bottom corner.

Newcastle showed nothing in terms of a response and their afternoon was summed up when Paul Dummett fell over with no one near him when he was about to deliver a cross into the box.

Everton continued to push for more goals and Lennon almost had another when his close range shot was brilliantly blocked by Mbemba – an incident which led to the defender being taken off with a foot injury.

At half-time, McClaren was forced into another change when Dummett was replaced by Rolando Aarons and was forced to use the winger as a makeshift left-back. It was common knowledge that Newcastle approached at least three left-back’s in the final days of the transfer window but failed to get anyone in.

Barkley was beginning to run the show in midfield and forced one of the saves of the season from Elliot after taking a pass from Bryan Oviedo. The England man lashed a 25-yard effort which Elliot brilliantly tipped onto the bar, earning applause from all corners of Goodison.

Jonjo Shelvey then flicked Cleverley’s free-kick onto his own crossbar, before the former Manchester United midfielder’s wicked set-piece was palmed onto the post by Elliot seconds later.

The law of averages says Newcastle were due at least one chance during the 90 minutes and they got it midway through the second half when substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic latched onto Moussa Sissoko’s excellent cross, only for the Serbian striker to shunt his shot wide of Joel Robles’ goal.

With that miss, Steve McClaren’s side’s hopes of taking anything from the game went out the window and when Aarons mistimed a sliding tackle on Lennon, it was over.

Barkley sent Elliot the wrong way to make it 2-0 but there was still time for more misery, when Lascelles fluffed a simple touch and then bundled Barkley over inside the box – allowing the England man to mark his 100th Premier League appearance with his second goal.