Everton v SAFC

Everton 2 Sunderland 1

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by Administrator

Blues mount late comeback on Merseyside.

Two goals in the space of three minutes handed Everton victory over Sunderland on Merseyside.

The Black Cats took the lead on the stroke of half time through Adam Johnson, who registered his first goal for the club.

Martin O'Neill's side, who produced arguably their best first half of the season, held the advantage until Marouane Fellaini equalised 13 minutes from time.

And Everton fashioned an unlikely winner soon afterwards through Nikica Jelavic to send the visitors home empty-handed.

The late turnaround will have frustrated boss O'Neill, but Sunderland played well and will feel hard done by not to have come away with something.

They created the better chances in the first half and could have been ahead after just three minutes as they looked to take advantage of an uncertain start by the hosts.

Steven Fletcher found space before rolling a neat through ball into the path of Stephane Sessegnon, who only had Tim Howard to beat but saw his shot blocked by the Everton keeper.

The roles were then reversed five minutes later as Sessegnon found Fletcher down the left, but although his angled drive beat Howard, the ball flashed agonisingly beyond the far post.

Everton, so strong so far this season, regained their composure and began to see much more time on the ball, with Jelavic twice firing off target either side of a powerful effort from Steven Pienaar which was beaten out by an alert Simon Mignolet.

But Sunderland remained dangerous on the counter and could have been ahead eight minutes before the break courtesy of the best move of the first half.

Adam Johnson orchestrated a neat interchange of passes down the right and knocked the ball around the corner for the onrushing Jack Colback, who tried to curl the ball across goal but couldn't beat Howard.

Mignolet was called into action to turn away Phil Neville's long-ranger at the other end, but Sunderland kept probing and were eventually rewarded with virtually the last kick of the half.

A left-wing corner was cleared as far as Craig Gardner, whose ball to the back post was perfect for Johnson to lift his shot over the advancing Howard and into the net.

It was a great way for the winger to open his Sunderland account following his summer move from Manchester City.

Having fired his team ahead, Johnson was in the thick of it again in the early stages of the second half, clearing the ball off the line after Johnny Heitinga headed a corner goalwards.

Everton threw men forward in search of an equaliser, leaving gaps at the back which Sunderland looked to exploit, with Sessegnon chief instigator.

But the hosts' pressing eventually paid off 13 minutes from time thanks to talisman Fellaini, who received possession on the edge of the box and turned before crashing a low drive past Mignolet and into the far corner.

And the comeback was complete three minutes later, much to the visitors' dismay.

Jelavic latched onto a dangerous through ball and drew Mignolet before curling a shot into the net.

The visitors pushed late on but Everton keeper Howard was unbeatable as the Toffees held out for all three points.

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Team Sheet

Howard
24
Jagielka
6
Baines
3
Yellow Heitinga
5
Pienaar
22
Fellaini
25
Neville (Vellios)
18
Osman
21
Coleman
23
Jelavic (Hitzlsperger)
7
Mirallas (Naismith)
11
Mignolet
22
O'Shea
16
Cuéllar
24
Rose Yellow
3
Gardner Yellow
8
Colback (Wickham)
14
McClean
23
Sessegnon
28
Larsson
7
Johnson (Vaughan)
21
Fletcher (Saha)
26

Substitutes

Gueye
19
Distin
15
Oviedo
8
Mucha
1
Hitzlsperger
16
Vellios
27
Naismith
14
Westwood
20
Kilgallon
12
Bramble
19
Wickham
10
Saha
25
McFadden
11
Vaughan Yellow
15