Sunderland beat Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday, as Dick Advocaat’s side breathed new life into their battle against relegation.
[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]
Two second half goals, both courtesy of lucky deflections, from Danny Graham and Jermain Defoe did the damage as Everton dominated play but came up against a Sunderland side who were resolute in defense as goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon plus Wes Brown and Lee Cattermole were rocks at the back. The Toffees had 73 percent of possession but the closest they came was James McCarthy’s shot which cannoned off the post in the second half.
With the win Sunderland moves up to 14th place on 36 points, while Everton remain in 11th on 44 points.
[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]
Early on it was all Everton as the Toffees were patient in possession and in the seventh minute Leon Osman found some space in the box but slipped just as he curled his effort wide of the far post.
Everton continued to press for the opener and Ross Barkley had an effort blocked in the 20th minute following a great surging run down the right from Seamus Coleman. Before half time Sunderland finally showed some attacking intent but both Defoe and Connor Wickham fired effort off target.
In the 41st minute the Toffees had the best chance of the first half as Osman played in Romelu Lukaku but Pantilimon smothered the ball at his feet and then saved Osman’s follow up after Aaron Lennon had put the ball back into the danger area.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
In the second half Sunderland came out fighting and had a chance through Graham as he threw himself as Sebastian Larsson’s effort but side-footed over. Everton then went close as Wickham headed clear from danger as Lukaku looked to pounce and then the first goal of the game arrived. In the 53rd minute Larsson’s cross from the right found Jordi Gomez and his goalbound effort was deflected into the net by Graham as Sunderland’s fans rejoiced.
The goal was Graham’s first in 28 appearances for the Black Cats since arriving from Swansea last season and it was the first goal Everton had conceded in 434 minutes at home in the PL. Everton responded well to going behind as Seamus Coleman dribbled through Sunderland’s defense as he juggled the ball and slammed just wide, while soon after McCarthy came closest for the Toffees as he slammed a shot against the foot of the post. Late on Everton had a huge shout for a penalty kick waved away as Coleman arrived at the back post to slot home but Defoe appeared to clip the right back as he tracked back. No penalty, and moments later Defoe wrapped up the win.
In the 85th minute John Stones was caught in possession and substitute Steven Fletcher ran into the box before laying it off to Adam Johnson who hit a shot across goal that deflected in off Defoe. 2-0 to Sunderland, as the great escape is well and truly on.
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Baines (Garbutt, 74′) , Stones, Jagielka, McCarthy, Barry (Mirallas, 62′), Lennon (McGeady, 87′), Barkley, Osman, Lukaku
Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, van Aanholt, Brown, Coates, Cattermole, Gomez, Larsson (Bridcutt, 84′), Defoe, Wickham (Fletcher, 84′), Graham (Johnson, 74′)
Goals: Graham (53′), Defoe (85′)