Image: Pa Wire.
Second-half efforts from Danny Graham and Jermain Defoe was enough to get Sunderland a crucial three points with a 2-0 victory over Everton.
Everton dominated the early proceedings with Romelu Lukaku and Leon Osman having early chances for Roberto Martinez’s side but nothing came off it, Defoe had a good chance but it was Graham who made the difference putting the visitors ahead in the 53rd minute.
Patrick Van Aanholt, Kevin Mirallas and James McCarthy all came close before Defoe sealed the three points five minutes from the end.
Lukaku and Osman had two good chances in quick succession in the eighth minute, the Belgian’s shot was blocked by Sebastian Coates before Osman tried a curling effort which went just wide of the far post.
Defoe then had a massive chance to put the visitors ahead in the 28th minute, the striker had space on the edge of the area before he hit a shot which looked to be heading for the bottom corner but the big deflection off fellow striker Conor Wickham took it wide of the post.
Two minutes before the break Castan Pantilimon as called upon to produce two great saves, the first came from Lukaku before Aaron Lennon played it back to Osman but the Romanian again did brilliantly to deny the midfielder.
Lukaku had another brilliant opportunity four minutes after the restart when he got on the end of a Phil Jagielka header but somehow the striker turned his effort wide.
Eight minutes after the restart Sunderland got a crucial goal to take the lead, Jordi Gomez attempted a shot from outside the area which bounced off Graham which looped it out of the reach of Tim Howard before clipping off the post into the net.
Van Aanholt almost gave Sunderland a second four minutes later when the Dutchman showed some great trickery to get past both Lennon and John Stones but when he finally managed to get the shot off he could only skew it wide.
Everton continued to push for an equaliser going into the last twenty minutes of the game when substitute Mirallas’ shot was too high in the 68th minute before his next attempt was blocked three minutes later. McCarthy came closest in the 72nd when John Stones set him up for the shot from outside the area but came back off the post.
McCarthy came close again in the 76th minute when he managed to find his way through the Sunderland but angle was not god for him and he blazed it over.
Five minutes before the end Defoe sealed the win, the ball managed to scuff its way into the striker who tapped it in from three yards before running off into the hysterical away support.
That was a crucial three points for Sunderland in their bid for survival, they did brilliantly in the first half to wave off the Everton and proved solid throughout and took their chances. That win took them to 14th for the time being and Dick Advocaat will be hoping that they can stay there.
Martinez will be disappointed that his side didn’t get anything from this game despite the many chances that they had especially in the first period but they seemed to die off after the break and their very disappointing campaign gains another loss.