Everton eke out vital win on Wearside

, 11 April, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent
Sunderland 0 - 1 Everton

Everton recorded seven straight wins for the first time in the Premier League era, squeezing past relegation-threatened Sunderland thanks to a second-half own goal by Wes Brown.

The defender helplessly diverted Gerard Deulofeu's cross past his own goalkeeper with 15 minutes left, handing the Blues a win they largely deserved despite a fairly lacklustre display.

Roberto Martinez kept faith with almost all of the team that started against Arsenal on Sunday, Kevin Mirallas dropping to the bench to accommodate Deulofeu being the one change as the Spaniard continues to rotate his forward players.

Romelu Lukaku and Steven Naismith operated as more orthodox forwards and it was the Scot who had Everton's best chance of the first half but, having turned Brown neatly in the area, he blazed over the crossbar.

At the other end, meanwhile, terrific covering by John Stones denied Fabio Borini the opening goal for Sunderland after the Italian had seized on Leighton Baines' weak back-pass, rounded Tim Howard and tried to sneak his shot inside the near post.

As had been the case at Fulham a fortnight ago, the Blues went into the half-time interval poised to up the tempo and intensity in the second half but they remained strangely subdued until a trademark Deulofeu jink to the byline saw the Spaniard slide a teasing ball across the face of Mannone's goal.

The Sunderland 'keeper was almost embarrassed a few minutes later when he hared out of his box and could only head the ball into Naismith's path but the striker couldn't hook it into the empty net.

He atoned for the error shortly afterwards, though, by batting Ross Barkley's effort around his post following Lukaku's deep cross.

Everton had ridden their luck on a couple of occasions in the second period, Gareth Barry having to head clear under his own bar while Ki Sung-Yeung glanced a header wide at the back post at the end of the same move.

Though fairly toothless, the Black Cats were growing in belief as the game wore on but they succumbed to the Blues' superiority as the game ticked towards the final quarter of an hour.

Deulofeu took Alonso on on the outside for the umpteenth time, made it the byline and it was his centre that deflected off Brown's chest and bounced past Mannone.

Conor Wickham and Alonso had low shots saved by Howard and Borini whipped a shot narrowly wide from 25 yards as the seemingly doomed home side tried to rescue a point but Everton held firm through a nervy finale to secure a victory that lifts them above Arsenal into the coveted fourth place.

Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Reports

About these ads

© ToffeeWeb