Premier League - Sunderland share spoils with Everton
Mon, 22 Nov 22:00:00 2010
Danny Welbeck added to his burgeoning reputation with goals in each half as Sunderland looked to have overcome Tim Cahill’s sixth-minute opener.
But Mikel Arteta netted a heavily-deflected effort late on, while both sides missed last-gasp sitters as - with Darren Bent totally free - Welbeck spurned the opportunity to walk away with the match ball and Everton substitute Jermaine Beckford hammered over with the last act of the game.
The result puts Everton 14th, above Birmingham on goal difference, while Sunderland - who have only lost twice this season - stay seventh after throwing away a late lead for the third time this campaign.
Both sides have a good run of form now, with Sunderland losing just one game in the last 12 and Everton's defeat to Arsenal last time out their only loss in nine.
The first half was an open, entertaining display from both sides as - while not end-to-end - spells of dominance ebbed and flowed between the two.
The visitors took an early lead thanks to a trademark strike from Cahill, who rose to head low past Craig Gordon after Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar combined on the left wing.
It was a super leap and finish from Cahill who, despite being only 5’10”, has now scored 29 of his 52 Premier League goals with his head; eight of the last 12 away from home have been assisted by Baines, whose delivery was almost un-defendable.
That goal sparked the hosts into action, who bombarded Everton’s penalty area for a quarter of an hour before Welbeck scored his second goal in as many games with a low finish at the near post after determined play from Boudewijn Zenden on the right wing.
Kieran Richardson fired inches wide soon afterwards as the hosts, who were missing Asamoah Gyan with a thigh strain, put David Moyes’s side on the rack.
But just before the half-hour mark the match swung back in Everton’s favour as they pressed for a second, Jordan Henderson and Gordon combining to clear off the line after Cahill met a corner with a goal-bound header.
The latter stages of the half saw Bent head over from a Phil Bardsley cross and the second period picked up in similar fashion as Sunderland bombarded the visiting goal from the off.
Welbeck’s pace and movement caused Everton all kinds of problems as he, Lee Cattermole and Zenden all went close in quick succession, Everton barely able to escape halfway.
But the Toffees had the best chance of the half when Cahill was denied a clever second, his clipped finish over the onrushing Gordon cleared off the line by Michael Turner, who slid straight into the post with his brave, goal-saving intervention.
That was a game-changing moment as afterwards Sunderland were in the ascendance.
The hosts took the lead for the first time in the game and there was a touch of controversy, not about Welbeck’s deft flicked header across Howard into the top left but concerning Richardson’s position before he crossed: the Black Cats midfielder appeared to be marginally offside.
Everton immediately pushed for a leveller but Sunderland seemed comfortable soaking up the pressure and looking for the counter attack until a huge stroke of luck brought parity between the sides.
A clever turn past Welbeck allowed Arteta a shooting opportunity but his effort was easily covered by Gordon - until Bardsley stuck out a leg to send it past the wrong-footed keeper.
That was with seven minutes remaining, but Sunderland opted to push for the win, replacing the tiring Henderson with Ahmed El-Mohammady and seeing Bent - back in the side after injury - hit the side netting after another sub, Steed Malbranque, sent him racing down the left.
The closing stages saw both teams throw caution to the wind, making attacking changes and trading blows to the death.
Sub Ayegbeni Yakubu was denied at the start of added time when Anton Ferdinand earned his coin with a superb block.
But the real drama came in the last of four minutes stoppage time when first Welbeck - put through by Malbranque - scuffed his finish wide from 12 yards and, from the resultant move, Beckford latched on to a long Jagielka ball, muscled past Turner and Ferdinand but fired over Gordon and the crossbar.