Steve Bruce's side fail to impress
The first-half was all about Everton; the Blues dominated possession on the ball and used it to create many a chance, two of which leading to their well worked goals. Sunderland just couldn’t find any consistency on the ball and only managed to conjure up two real chances in the first 45 minutes.
The hosts began the second-half as they left on from the first and had a small flurry of chances in the first five minutes of the period. Sunderland were able to scrape back some stake in the possession, but failed to do anything with the ball and the visitors sank as they gave up the fight, allowing David Moyes’s side to see the game through.
Everton were able to start with Lois Saha and Marouane Fellaini after being doubts for the game. Jack Rodwell and Tim Cahill both resided to the bench after being passed fit and Phil Jagielka made his first Premier League start of the year.
There was no Craig Gordon at Goodison Park today after picking up a knee injury and was an unwanted name to add to the growing list of players on the sideline for Steve Bruce. Jack Colback made the bench after recovering from his muscle strain, but Frazier Campbell, Lee Cattermole, Michael Turner and David Meyler were all missing.
A tentative start from both sides led to the game’s early moments becoming a battle for the initial bits of possession to control the first minutes. Kieran Richardson was handed the first chance after a great ball from the middle found him in space on the left side, but the winger couldn’t target his shot properly and the ball skewered well wide of goal.
It took just eight minutes for the first goal to arrive. A poor clearance from Anton Ferdinand dropped to Leon Osman’s feet and the midfielder saw the space to channel the ball deep into the box from 20 yards out, which Jermaine Beckford picked up whose close range shot beat stand-in keeper Simon Mignolet and hit Titus Bramble on the shins, ending up in the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Everton were showing a lot of confidence on the ball and looked like they could score with every move and were heavily dominating possession, with Steve Bruce’s Sunderland struggling to get a hold on the ball.
The Black Cats finally gave themselves a chance in getting back into the game. A lovely backheel from Asamoah Gyan found Ahmed Elmohamady who was able to move the ball onto Stephane Sessegnon and the former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder fired a powerful effort that smashed off of the underside of Tim Howard’s goal. Sunderland were still trailing, but they were finally showing some hope and spirit to get a much needed equalizer.
As half-time beckoned, Sunderland were definitely showing signs of life; the Wearside team had begun to attack more and more, but a resilient Everton were defending well.
However, all of the visitor’s efforts were blown away after Everton doubled their lead, Beckford once again getting his name on the score-sheet. Mikel Arteta acted as the architect as the Spaniard used a combination of impressive skill and blistering pace to skin John Mensah, the midfielder racing into the area and reaching the by-line, looks up to see the former Leeds man who manages to find the corner of the goal once more, despite a messy finish.
Everton began the second-half very brightly and were able to create a couple of chances within the first few minutes with Beckford and Osman both going close to testing Mignolet once again and Seamus Coleman doing his part with some good running on and off the ball.
Mignolet was called into action on the hour mark with a double save. Saha found himself with space on the edge of the visitor’s area and drilled a low effort that the Belgian was able to push away, bu the ball then arrived at Coleman’s feet, whose following shot was saved well under pressure by the keeper once more.
Rodwell was next up to challenge the Sunderland defense after a burst of pace through space down the middle enabled him to reach his way deep into the visitor’s half, before earning a corner which was saved by Mignolet.
Steve Bruce’s side were having a horrid time working their way back into the game as they continually failed to make anything of their time on the ball and looked to have a lost cause on their hands as they seemingly gave up the fight.
As the game reached the final 15 minutes proceedings became tame and Everton were more than happy to see it out as they kept a hold on the ball, whilst dismissing anything their opponents threw at them.
The final ten minutes saw Everton bombard Sunderland with crosses and corners as the north east side desperately waited on the full-time whistle from the referee. Substitute Diniyar Bilyaletdinov went close on 86 minutes after attractive one touch football from Leighton Baines and Cahill set the Russian up for the shot, but his effort sailed over the bar.
Eveton’s win sees them finally arrive in the top-ten and gives them the much needed confidence in the league on keep on going after such a torrid time for most of this season. Sunderland’s loss brings them level on points with Bolton after their draw with other north east side, Newcastle United.