Premier League - Beckford downs Sunderland

Sat, 26 Feb 16:55:00 2011

Jermaine Beckford's first Premier League double saw Everton down a limp Sunderland side 2-0 at Goodison Park.

Match Highlights: Everton 2

Beckford struck twice from close range in the first-half but his chance of a hat-trick ended in the 73rd minute after he was forced off with a knock.

Marouane Fellaini also picked up an injury and had to be substituted just before half-time, and those injury concerns will temper the joy for David Moyes's side who otherwise carried on the good form they showed last weekend in knocking Chelsea out of the FA Cup.

Steve Bruce, who this week signed a contract extension with the Black Cats, will be as furious with his side's attitude though, as they produced a listless performance that allowed Everton to cruise to victory once the hard work had been done in the opening 45 minutes.

It was actually Sunderland who had the first real chance of the game as Kieran Richardson found himself clear on goal in the sixth minute when Everton made a mess of trying to play the offside trap. However, the former Manchester United dragged his awful effort wide and the Toffees were out of jail.

Two minutes later and they were in front too, but again Sunderland gave them a helping hand. A poor header from Anton Ferdinand saw a long ball end up at the feet of Leon Osman. The tricky winger then slipped a lovely ball in behind the defence and Beckford dinked the ball over Simon Mignolet from close range with Titus Bramble then helping to bundle the ball into the net.

Everton looked more assured in possession throughout the first period but Sunderland did have one quality moment where they almost equalised.

It came in the 27th minute when an Asamoah Gyan back-heel left Ahmed Elmohamady with options. The Egyptian shifted the ball to Stephane Sessegnon 25 yards out and the former Paris St Germain man cannoned a rocket of a shot that hit the underside of the bar. Replays showed that Tim Howard got the slightest of touches and given how close the effort was – that made all the difference.

Beckford doubled Everton's lead in the 38th minute but the goal was all about Mikel Arteta. The Spanish midfielder showed wonderful trickery to skip past John Mensah and then checked the ball back for Beckford who found the corner of the net despite his finish being something of a mis-hit.

Everton deserved their lead at the break, even if the 2-0 advantage was somewhat flattering.

However, the full-time result was certainly fair enough as Sunderland failed to offer anything after the break despite having a hefty share of possession.

Instead it always looks more likely that Everton would score again as Osman screwed half-volley attempts wide in the 49th and 74th minutes and Mignolet then made a double save from Louis Saha and Seamus Coleman in the 62th.

The busy Osman nearly got the goal his performance deserved in stoppage time when he nutmegged one man and then rounded the keeper but Elmohamady was on the line to head his shot away.

Nevertheless, the match was long over as a contest at that stage with the three points moving Everton up to 10th while Sunderland missed the chance to overtake Liverpool, and stay seventh.

Sean Fay / Eurosport

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