Toffees toppled by Lads.
If the end of the 12 year winless streak at St. James’ was a relief, Sunderland fans got the next best thing as they finally got all three points against Everton since 2001.
Sunderland could have been on top only minutes into PDC’s first came on Wearside. O’Shea’s header beat the Everton back four and forced Graham to have a snapshot which was saved by the onrushing Howard on the edge of the box. The next chance of the game also fell to the Cats, as Seb Larsson’s free kick dual with Howard begun.
About 25 yards but, the Swede curled the ball only to see it graze the top of the bar. A few first half minutes later, he hit a similiar free kick narrowly wide. In the middle of these two close shots, Everton, backed by their 2,500 fans, also came close. Mirallas cut inside from the right and hit a shot that deflected off Larsson. However, the ball looped just wide.
Just as the first half looked to be coming to a close, Larsson forced a brilliant save from Howard via another tricky dead ball. It was in stoppage time that Sunderland got the eventual winner, though. Baines gave the ball away on the left and fed it straight to Larsson. The midfielder played the ball up to Sessegnon who, from 25 yards out, shot into the bottom corner to make most of the 45,000 strong crowd celebrate the first SoL goal of Di Canio’s era.
It didn’t take long for the Lads to establish themselves in the second half, this time Danny Rose came close to doubling the lead. After a marauding run battling for the ball, the left back found himself in space 20 yards out. His across goal shot when just wide however.
The away side also could have scored. Fellaini’s shot looked to be going wide only Jelavic deflected it towards Mignolet. Mignolet was grateful to clutch the ball and it was lucky that the Croat placed it straight at him with the whole of the goal to aim at.
A bizarre moment happened later when Larsson launched a 40 yard ball towards his ‘keeper. Mignolet had no other choice but to catch the goal bound ‘pass’ and the Blues were awarded a indirect free kick from 8 yards. The wall, despite the closeness of the shot, did its job and blocked the Baines kick. When the ball was eventually cleared it was treated like a goal by the Wearside faithful.
Johnson could have put nerves to bed when he and Graham worked a bit of space and the winger found himself with a clear run to goal. However, Howard’s leg was enough to keep out the shot.
Sitting six points clear of the drop, Sunderland still need another win to get to the magic 40 point mark and will be hoping to do this at Villa Park a week on Monday.
Simon Mignolet, Jack Colback, Danny Rose, John O’Shea ©, Carlos Cuellar, James McClean, Adam Johnson, Seb Larsson, Alfred N’Diaye, Stephane Sessegnon and Danny Graham.
Tim Howard, Seamus Coleman, Leighton Baines, Johnny Heitanga, Sylvan Distin, Kevin Mirallas, Steven Pienaar, Darron Gibson, Leon Osman ©, Marouane Fellaini and Victor Anichebe.