Ayoze Perez was a man possessed in the second half against Everton.
St James’ Park was a cauldron of noise on Saturday afternoon, thanks to some questionable refereeing, a short-armed Mackem and a little Spanish forward.
The 3-2 win over the Toffees brought out a range of emotions, but Perez brought out the best in the fans in the second half.
Newcastle needed inspiration, and the 25-year-old provided it.
Perez becomes the man
Earlier in the season, the forward was heavily criticised by fans. He wasn’t performing, and looked a shell of his former self.
There were boos aimed at Perez, who responded with his ‘fingers in ears’ celebration after scoring the winner against Watford. That celebration was somewhat controversial the first time, but now it’s his trademark that is copied by fans.
In recent weeks, Perez’s form has improved, but he had slightly regressed against Burnley and West Ham. It was typical Perez, blowing hot and cold.
But in the second half on Saturday, he was in inspired form. From the moment he beat Michael Keane in the air and subsequently set up Salomon Rondon, he was unstoppable.
Everything he touched turned to gold. He looked a real senior player, taking a game by the scruff of the neck and forcing himself to be the difference.
Perez has been a player defined by moments. He’s popped up at the right place at the right time, but he’s never been the main man.
That appeared to change against Everton, as his assist and brace completed a dramatic comeback for the Toon. Was this a coming of age performance?