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Sunderland secured their first Barclays Premier League away win of the season as 10-man Everton were consigned to a 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park.
Gus Poyet's men had picked up just three points on the road in the top-flight campaign prior to their trip to Merseyside, but Ki Sung-Yueng's first-half penalty boosted their survival hopes and inflicted a first home league defeat of the year on Everton. Leon Osman and Tim Howard contrived to gift Ki a golden opportunity to put Sunderland ahead after 25 minutes.
Howard played the ball to Osman from a goal-kick, only for the midfielder to be caught in possession to allow Ki in and as he attempted to go around the United States goalkeeper, who brought him down. That goal proved to be decisive although neither side move in the table as a result, with Poyet's men staying bottom while Everton remain fifth.
Roberto Martinez made just one change as Osman, equalling David Unsworth's record of 302 Barclays Premier League appearances for Everton, replaced Ross Barkley. Poyet made four alterations, with two coming in defence as Modibo Diakite and Valentin Roberge replaced the injured John O'Shea and suspended Wes Brown.
Everton left-back Bryan Oviedo had the first effort on target, creating space before firing a swerving left-footed effort at Vito Mannone in the eighth minute. Jack Colback forced Howard into a save from outside the area seven minutes later in a frantic start.
Osman’s error resulted in Howard upending Ki and the Swansea City loanee converted the penalty to end Sunderland's wait for a first away goal in the top flight since August. Robles was called on to make a smart double save 10 minutes after the goal but Sunderland were unable to add to their lead before the break despite enjoying large spells of possession.
Diakite almost doubled the visitors' lead a minute after the interval, nudging an effort over the bar from close range before the hosts began to pile on the pressure. Romelu Lukaku had Mannone sprawling to his left before a last-ditch Lee Cattermole tackle denied Barkley a shot at an open goal.
Mannone was again in fine form to keep out Barkley's free-kick before Fabio Borini headed Phil Jagielka's header off the line in the final 10 minutes as the hosts desperately sought to preserve their 10-game unbeaten record in the league. Their pressure was to no avail however as Sunderland held on to secure their first win at Goodison Park since 1996.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez: "I thought the second-half performance was exactly what we needed. The scoreline doesn't reflect what happened in the game, but today I'm happier probably than on other days when we won because we learned a lot from our squad and internally, and that's going to help us for the future.
"There is always a transitional period in whatever you want to do. You need to develop experience, and we'll learn from it. Today, that incident because of the sending-off, put a major difficulty in the rest of the game, but when you look at the amount of chances and the performance of Mannone, he had two outstanding saves and we should have taken advantage of a couple of other good opportunities.
"I couldn't be prouder. We played with 10 men; in the second half, we were always a real threat, we worked extremely hard, and I thought tactically we coped with whatever was needed. The normal thing would have been to get something out of the game, but as it happens I'm extremely happy with the performance."
"Sometimes you can nick a win that isn't going to help you in the next five months of the competition. This performance isn't leaving us any points today, but it's leaving us a lot of future points - there's no doubt about that.
"I couldn't be prouder or happier, with the amount of desire that we showed, and on another day, we could have won. Sometimes football brings those sort of moments - and we have to learn from it."
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet: "For us, three points is something incredible, I say it before but Everton are the best team we have played against. Even with 10, I have no doubt.
"Sometimes the strikers get all the credit but sometimes you need the goalkeeper to win you the game and Vito won us the game for us.
We can not blame anyone because we had the chances to beat those around us but always we do something wrong. We need to change that if we want to stay up. When we play against the top teams it goes the other way, we defend, the ball doesn't go in, the goalkeeper is man of the match."
|29 Dec 2013||v Southampton (H)|
|01 Jan 2014||v Stoke (A)|
|11 Jan 2014||v Norwich (H)|
|20 Jan 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|28 Jan 2014||v Liverpool (A)|
|01 Feb 2014||v Aston Villa (H)|