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12 April 2014
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 38445
W. Brown 75' (own goal)
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME: Sunderland 0-1 Everton. It's a massive result for both sides, with Roberto Martinez's side leapfrogging Arsenal into fourth while Gus Poyet and his charges are forced to lick the wounds of a defeat equally as damaging as the 5-1 drubbing at Tottenham last week. Wes Brown's unfortunate own-goal 15 minutes from time was the difference between the two sides as Gerard Deulofeu's persistence against Marcos Alonso paid off when he sprinted clear and sent a cross into the area which the Sunderland man could only divert into his own net. It was the cruellest of blows and one that the Black Cats could not recover from.
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Sylvain Distin
90' + 1'
Distin is booked for a foul on Borini over on the far side of the pitch, a yellow card looks harsh on first viewing but it fails to yield any tangible threat on the Everton goal, with Johnson's strike straight at Howard.
Sunderland win a free-kick but yet again the delivery is poor and cleared away without any fuss by Everton, who sensibly elect to keep the ball rather than go for broke in the final third.
Yellow Card Sebastian Larsson
Everton are showing signs of maturity as they continue to keep the ball impressively and frustrate the relegation-haunted hosts, who will stay six points adrift with a defeat here.
CLOSE! The Black Cats go one step closer to an equaliser as Borini fires in a swerving strike from distance which drops agonisingly wide of the far post with Howard looking in a fluster in his attempts to keep the ball out.
SAVE! Howard is forced into a routine save, but a save nonetheless, as Sunderland remind their visitors there remains work to be done to secure the three points. Wickham steps up and takes on two defenders but his low shot lacks power and is gathered without any real difficulty by Howard.
Ki is at the centre of the action once more as he tries a volley on the spin in the area but he gets it hopelessly wrong and the ball flies over the bar. Everton have everyone back at this late stage.
Martinez rather boldly introduces both Aiden McGeady and Kevin Mirallas as he searches for the second goal which would put this game to bed. Sunderland muster a half-chance as Ki tries to side-foot beyond Howard but Everton have enough bodies back to clear after the Toffees custodian had spilled the ball.
Alonso tries to atone for his error by whipping a ball into the area at the other end, but it is well blocked and Everton have the game just where they want it right now.
Own Goal Wes Brown
GOAL! Everton have a crucial lead, and perhaps an undeserved one, at the Stadium of Light as West Brown turns into his own goal. It all stemmed from yet another Deulofeu surge beyond Alonso on the near side and the Everton winger's cross was inadvertently diverted beyond Mannone by Brown's flick and the hosts look flat on their feet. The cruellest of blows but Everton will not mind one iota.
Barkley advances and the Sunderland defence back off of him but he drags his shot wide of the far post despite Mannone scrambling across to get there.
Sunderland, boosted by the introduction of Sebastian Larsson attack again but Johnson rather selfishly elects to shoot when a pass looked the better option and his effort goes well wide of goal.
Ki takes another speculative effort at goal, but Howard makes the save more difficult than it ought to have been as he spills the ball away before collecting at the second attempt.
Everton are just beginning to pass the ball with a bit of added purpose and zest, but they are not able to get anywhere with it and Sunderland continue to pose a threat on the counter.
Ki is the latest man to try his luck with a fizzing effort, but Howard gathers it easily enough to deny the Sunderland midfielder.
CHANCE! Barkley almost makes an immediate contribution as his shot at the back post from Lukaku's cross can only be parried aside by Mannone.
Cattermole is brought down by substitute Ross Barkley but the hosts are let off the hook almost immediately as Naismith volleys wide of an open goal after Mannone's error.
SO CLOSE! Sunderland have been brilliant in this second half but they have just come within a whisker of falling behind. Yet again, Alonso is left for dead by Deulofeu's pace but the Spaniard's cross-cum-shot is beyond Lukaku but also just outside the far post as the home side survive.
Borini shows an excellent piece of skill to drop his shoulder and leave Gareth Barry for dead before his shot deflects away off Distin for a corner. A succession of set pieces eventually leads to Johnson crossing towards the back post but it is just over the head of Ki Sung-Yeung.
A ball into the penalty area causes panic in the Sunderland defensive ranks and they are thankful for Naismith's poor finish, only finding the gloves of Mannone with a weak effort as the Black Cats shouted in vain for handball against the Scot.
Yellow Card Phil Bardsley
Coleman enters the referee's notebook for a rash tackle on Borini, who had nutmegged his marker but the free-kick in is poor and fails to find a Sunderland head.
Yellow Card Seamus Coleman
Deulofeu shows a neat turn of pace and some silky skills to escape the attentions of Alonso and his dangerous low ball in has to be dealt with by Mannone, with several Everton players looking for a tap-in at the back post. Naismith is penalised seconds later for a trip on Cattermole, but Probert took an eternity to blow his whistle for the foul.
Sunderland work the ball neatly out of defence and Bardsley leads the charge forward but the full-back's pass is slightly too heavy for Wickham to run on to, with Stones in close proximity.
Sunderland start the half brightly and are enjoying plenty of the ball so far in this second period but Johnson's attempt to loft the ball over the Toffees rearguard is foiled as Coleman intercepts the pass with ease.
Everton get us back underway at the Stadium of Light.
HALF-TIME: Sunderland 0-0 Everton. It is a result that does little favours to either side here, but neither has done enough to claim they should be in front. Everton have had the majority of possession and chances, but arguably Sunderland tasted the best opening of the half as Borini's goalbound effort was somehow cleared away by a retreating Stones. A big half coming up for both sides at the Stadium of Light.
Everton go long towards Lukaku but O'Shea sticks with his man and is able to clear away for a throw before McCarthy's threatening cross just eludes the reach of Naismith.
Alonso's exquisite pass in behind the Everton backline finds Johnson free on the right-hand side of the area, but his cross is met by the sliding James McCarthy, who is happy to give away the corner.
Colback is lucky to get away with another error just moments later as his slack pass across the face of his own goal is not picked up by Lukaku, who would have been clear on goal if he had intercepted the wayward ball.
Lukaku and Baines look to team up with a one-two on the edge of the area and, when the ball spins loose, Colback and Osman are involved in a tussle which results in the Everton man winning a free-kick. Mixed news from elsewhere for the Black Cats, as Fulham take the lead over Norwich City.
A long ball over the top looks to pick out Deulofeu but it is too far in front of the speedy winger, who cannot quite keep it in play.
CHANCE! Lukaku is the latest Everton striker to try his luck after a stunning pass from Baines fed him inside O'Shea and Wes Brown, but the latter did brilliantly to get a block in and deflect the ball away for a corner.
The corner is taken short to Alonso, but the Spaniard sees his shot blocked away and Everton break away downfield before play becomes fragmented once more. The first goal, you sense, will be crucial this afternoon.
OFF THE LINE! Stones recovers to make an excellent goal-line clearance after Borini had sprung the offside trap from Wickham's pass and rounded Howard. The Italian's effort was on target, but Stones tracked back well to reach the ball.
Sunderland invite pressure on their goal as Mannone plays a poor pass out to Phil Bardsley and Johnson is forced to concede a free-kick. Baines delivers but Deulofeu wastes the latest presentable opening.
Naismith continues to find pockets of space in front of the Sunderland backline, but his latest pass is also over-hit and Deulofeu is beaten to the loose ball by the alert Mannone.
Sunderland win a free-kick of their own but the delivery is poor and it floats above everybody and straight out for a goal kick.
Alonso avoids what appeared an obvious booking on first glance as he hauled down Deulofeu recklessly after the Spaniard had checked inside his fellow international compatriot but, despite the Everton man's protests, Lee Probert dismisses the appeals and awards just a free-kick. The set piece is poor, and Sunderland are able to clear their lines once more.
Naismith tries to feed in strike partner Lukaku with a precise pass but he puts too much on it and Mannone races off his line to meet it.
Yellow Card Adam Johnson
Johnson goes into the book for hauling down Baines, who picks himself up to swing a free-kick into the penalty area but Sunderland are able to get rid of the danger once more before Osman fires high over the crossbar.
Lukaku makes a run towards goal and lays the ball off to Osman on the edge of the area, but his shot ricochets away for a corner on the far side. Everton continue to threaten moments later but Coleman's cross is headed away by O'Shea before Leighton Baines' follow-up is also cleared.
CHANCE: Steven Naismith wastes the best chance of the game so far as he snatches at his shot and can only produce a wayward effort having done well to spin in the area and work himself some space.
A long ball down the middle almost catches out the Everton rearguard as Wickham gives chase, but John Stones does well to mop up from in front of the onrushing Tim Howard and concedes a throw.
Sunderland make inroads down the left but Marcos Alonso's two crosses are both poor and fail to beat Coleman at the near post.
Adam Johnson forces a corner but the cleverly-worked routine, finding Borini, is eventually cleared before the visitors break, but Deulofeu is greedy and elects to do it all himself in trying to find the opener, with Vito Mannone able to keep his strike out with the minimum of fuss.
Ki Sung-Yeung delivers a set piece into the Everton penalty area but Fabio Borini is unable to get a solid contact before the Italian capitalises on Sylvain Distin's poor clearance by finding himself onside in a threatening area, but his cross is cleared easily.
The news fails to get better for Sunderland, as West Brom take a two-goal lead over Spurs while Everton muster their first meaningful goalscoring opportunity as Seamus Coleman advances down the right and whips a ball into the near post which Lukaku heads wide.
Everton have started brightly here and Sunderland look slightly inhibited, understandable after the White Hart Lane debacle earlier this week. The Toffees have had all the early possession but have not offered anything offensively thus far.
We are underway at the Stadium of Light here as Sunderland get the ball rolling. There has been an early goal at West Brom, and it's bad news for the Black Cats as Matej Vydra hands the Baggies the lead over Tottenham.
We will have a minute's silence here to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 96 Liverpool fans that died at Hillsborough in 1989. All the matches across the country are kicking off seven minutes late in memory of the tragic events.
They were breathtaking in the crucial win over the Gunners last weekend, aided by Romelu Lukaku's unconventional right-sided role. It remains to be seen whether the on-loan forward will operate there today or not.
That seventh win would represent a club-record run in the Premier League, while it would also help them amass their highest-ever points total in the competition - testament to their superb form.
Even a draw would take the Toffees fourth, albeit only on goal difference, with Arsenal in FA Cup semi-final action this afternoon, and the two sides in action at the Stadium of Light are experiencing entirely contrasting fortunes. Everton are looking for their seventh successive league win here, stretching back to a last-gasp defeat at Chelsea at the back end of February.
Sunderland also exited the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage after their defeat to City, but Everton's defeat at Arsenal in the final eight has served only to spur on the Merseysiders in their battle for fourth with the Gunners, and Martinez's side will pull two points clear should they win today.
Sunderland's Uruguayan chief faces a monumental task in trying to secure safety for his side, who look increasingly doomed as sides around them begin to pick up victories. Ever since the Capital One Cup final defeat to Manchester City, the season has unravelled for the Black Cats, having lost four of their five league games since.
Poyet's three changes mean John O'Shea, Jack Colback and Connor Wickham are all back in the starting lineup, with Carlos Cuellar, Santiago Vergini, who was lamentable in the White Hart Lane drubbing, and Liam Bridcutt all dropping out.
Everton substitutes: Robles, Hibbert, McGeady, Mirallas, Barkley, Garbutt, Alcaraz.
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Naismith, Osman, Deulofeu; Lukaku.
Sunderland substitutes: Ustari, Larsson, Gardner, Cuellar, Vergini, Giaccherini, Scocco.
Here's the team news in full, starting with Sunderland: Mannone; Bardsley, O'Shea, Brown, Alonso; Cattermole, Ki, Colback; Johnson, Wickham, Borini.
The team news is in, with Sunderland manager Gus Poyet making three alterations to the side that lost so meekly to Tottenham on Monday night, while his counterpart Martinez makes just one change as Gerard Deulofeu replaces Kevin Mirallas. Leon Osman is fit enough to start despite requiring five stitches on a bloodied eye during the 3-0 win over Arsenal last week.
Hello and welcome to this LIVE commentary of Sunderland v Everton in a match which will have significant ramifications at either end of the Premier League as the hosts look to pull off the foot of the table while Roberto Martinez's side head to Wearside hoping to move ahead of Arsenal in the race for fourth.
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