—END OF LOAD TAG—>
|Steven Pienaar (Victor Anichebe, 90)|
|Louis Saha (James Vaughan, 78)|
|Landon Donovan (Mikel Arteta, 76)|
|Nyron Nosworthy (Paulo Da Silva, 59)|
|Kieran Richardson (Kenwyne Jones, 26)|
|Lee Cattermole (Andy Reid, 46)|
Everton 2 Sunderland 0: First half goals from Cahill and Donovan gave the hosts a comfortable victory. Sunderland rallied late on, but it was too little, too late and the visitors' relegation fears are growing fast.
Reid launches a long free-kick into the Everton area. Jones rises highest and heads goalwards and Howard is forced to divert it behind for a corner.
Everton substitution: Pienaar comes off and on comes Anichebe.
There will be 3 minutes stoppage time at the end of this match.
Zenden finds the ball landing at his feet 12 yards out and he fires it goalwards, but Howard pulls off a decent save to his right and Sunderland have a corner.
The corner comes in and Kilgallon so nearly gets his head to it eight yards out. He looks as though he got there but missed the ball and Everton clear.
Teasing cross by Zenden from the left across the face of the 6-yard box, but no one attacks it for Sunderland and Osman clears for a corner at the far post.
McCartney and Zenden do well down the left and force a corner for the visitors.
Henderson goes through the back of Vaughan and Everton have a free-kick 35 yards out, left of centre.
It looks like Everton have weathered that short spell of pressure from Sunderland, but a goal now could make this last eight minutes pretty interesting.
Jones cuts inside on the right edge of the area, but he shoots right-footed when he really should use his left and the ball goes well wide.
Reid fires goalwards from the edge of the area, but he doesn't catch it cleanly and his effort is straight at Howard.
Everton substitution: Saha comes off to be replaced by Vaughan.
Pienaar so nearly threads a ball through for Saha, but it's just cut out.
Everton substitution: Arteta makes his entrance and replaces Donovan.
Sunderland are just enjoying a spell of possession inside the Everton final third. They've wasted a couple of good opportunities to put a decent cross into the box, but they are now looking to make a fight of this.
Ball into the Everton box by McCartney and Fellaini heads almost out of the hands of Howard for a corner. Sunderland are just starting to show some signs of life.
Arteta is getting stripped and it looks like it'll be a matter of minutes until he's introduced to the action by David Moyes.
Distin almost gets caught on the ball as the last man, but he clears under pressure.
Donovan and Saha link up well on the right corner of the area. Donovan slips it inside to Osman, but the Everton man hurries his shot from the edge of the area and fires wide.
Reid plays the ball forward into the left channel for Jones, but he's easily bundled off the ball. It's been a poor showing up until this point from the visitors.
Bent challenges with Distin on the edge of the Everton area and he earns his side a throw-in 6 yards from the corner flag on the right.
Da Silva makes another foul and he's warned by the referee already.
Da Silva's first involvement is bundling into the back of Pienaar on the half-way line and Everton have a free-kick.
Sunderland substitution: Final change of the evening for Steve Bruce as he sends on Da Silva in place of Nosworthy.
Saha is put clear on goal. He surges into the area, but Mensah gets back well and nicks the ball off of Saha's toe just as he's about to pull the trigger. It's a corner to Everton.
Great chance for Everton to seal the victory. Cahill picks up the ball 30 yards out. He slips the ball in for Donovan, who rounds Gordon, but his shot is cleared off the line by McCartney.
Sunderland are still not showing any real signs of getting back in this game and Everton have enjoyed the greater of the possession in the early stages of this second half.
Pienaar sends over a right-footed and in-swinging cross from the left and Gordon is forced to come out and claim under pressure.
Cana lashes wildly at the ball 30 yards from goal, but he totally mis-cues his shot and it's well off target.
Osman shoots right-footed from the edge of the area, but the shot is always rising and goes well over.
Zenden brings down Cahill from behind 30 yards out on the corner of the area and the referee shows the Sunderland man the yellow card.
Baines breaks free down the left. He crosses low towards Saha, but it's well cut out and cleared, with the Everton man looking set to pounce.
Everton get this second half underway.
Sunderland substitution: Cattermole almost makes it out for the second half, but after feeling his hamstring injury again he's replaced by Reid.
Everton 2 Sunderland 0: Goals from Cahill and Donovan put Everton firmly in control at the half-way stage. Jones' miss right on the stroke of half time was Sunderland's only chance, but it may give them some belief that they can get back in the game.
Great chance for Jones but he misses the target from 6 yards with only Howard to beat. It's a fine cross from the left which gives him the chance. Distin can't touch it in fear of putting into his own net, but Jones wastes the chance.
There will be one minute of added time at the end of thie first half.
Baines takes the free-kick, low and left-footed, but it's a comfortable save for Gordon.
Cattermole has a nibble at Fellaini and Everton have a free-kick 30 yards from goal and central. The referee wants a word with the Sunderland man, but no card.
Great pressure from Saha on the edge of the Sunderland area, forces a throw-in for the home side 30 yards from goal on the right.
Pienaar finds Saha on the left edge of the Sunderland area. The French striker just doesn't get his first touch out of his feet and his shot is deflected out for a corner.
Heitinga launches another long ball forward looking for the run of Saha. The ball is too firm and runs safely through to Gordon.
Mensah plays a deep cross towards the far post, but Neville covers round well to head clear.
Approaching the last few minutes before half time and Sunderland have yet to record an attempt at goal. These must be troubling times for Steve Bruce.
Howard launches the ball forward. Saha flicks it on into the area and finds Cahill, but he can't get any power on his header and Gordon gathers.
Fine ball forward by Heitinga picks out Baines on the left. He cuts inside his man and crosses right-footed, but Nosworthy cuts it out and clears.
Fine play by Everton. Pienaar's run opens up space for Baines on the left. He plays it inside to Osman, who twists and turns before curling an effort goalwards from the edge of the area. Gordon gets down well to his left to make a comfortable save.
Everton win a free-kick for a foul on Cahill, 35 yards from goal on the right touchline. The ball is played into the area, but the referee spots a foul by Fellaini and the danger is over.
Jones strides forward into the Everton half, but he's crowded out and Fellaini dispossesses him.
Sunderland are still struggling to get any decent possession of the ball and Jones has yet to have his first touch.
The free-kick is curled in to the penalty area. It's headed clear only as far as Baines, but he skews his shot well wide from the edge of the area.
Sunderland substitution: Richardson hobbles off and is replaced by Kenwyne Jones.
Saha does well to hold the ball up on the right corner of the area. He's brought down by Cattermole and it's a free-kick to Everton in a dangerous position.
Richardson finds space on the left for a cross. He pulls it back along the ground, but it's cut out and Everton clear.
Heitinga dwells on the ball and gets caught in possession by Bent on the left edge of the Everton area, but Bent's touch is heavy and the ball runs out for a goal-kick.
Everton 2 Sunderland 0: Baines launches a long diagonal ball forward. Cahill wins the header on the edge of the area and finds the on-rushing Donovan, who fires home left-footed, via a deflection off Nosworthy, from the edge of the area.
Sunderland really haven't offered anything thus far as an attacking threat.
Sunderland release Bent beyond the Everton defence, but he's strayed offside and it's a free-kick to Everton on the edge of their own penalty area.
Having just seen the goal again, there is more than a suspicion of offside against Cahill, who may have made his run slightly too early.
Pienaar surges towards the edge of the Sunderland area. He tries to slide Saha in, but the pass is too firm and Gordon is out quickly to smother.
Everton have looked by far the more comfortable of the two sides since the goal and are enjoying the lion's share of possession.
Pienaar tries to thread the ball beyond the Sunderland defence for Saha to run onto, but the ball is cut out and cleared.
Cahill turns provider this time, bending a teasing ball into the area looking for Saha, but it's just too long for the Everton striker.
Everton 1 Sunderland 0: Baines cuts the ball back to the corner of the area for Fellaini. He floats a cross into the area and Cahill gets up first to flick the ball deftly into the far bottom corner with his head.
The ball is getting caught up in the midfield with both teams struggling to get good possession on the ball.
Gordon launches a free-kick forward towards Bent. Heitinga makes a back for him and Bent goes over awkwardly, but no free-kick is given and the ball runs harmlessly through for a goal-kick.
Early ball forward by Distin towards Saha, but it's well over-hit and runs safely through to Gordon.
The visitors get this game underway.
Sunderland have picked up only three points in their last eight games and have conceded 16 goals in the last five league games.
Everton have not lost at home to Sunderland since 1996 and have not lost at home to anyone outside the "big four" all season.
Everton are slowly rising up the table and are unbeaten in eight league matches.
Sunderland come into the match on the back of one win in 10 and have failed to register a victory in the last 11 attempts against tonight's hosts
Yakubu and Yobo miss out due to their involvement in the African Cup of Nations.
Cattermole returns for the visitors, following a hamstring injury, whilst Arteta makes the Everton bench.
Sunderland team line-up: Gordon, Mensah, Nosworthy, Kilgallon, McCartney, Henderson, Cattermole, Cana, Zenden, Richardson, Bent
Everton team line-up: Howard, Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Donovan, Fellaini, Osman, Pienaar, Cahill, Saha
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