Live Commentary: Sunderland 1-0 Everton - as it happened

Live Commentary: Sunderland 1-0 Everton - as it happened
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Sports Mole brings you live text commentary of Sunderland's crucial Premier League clash against Everton this afternoon.

Sunderland moved six points clear of the relegation zone this afternoon courtesy of a 1-0 win over Everton at the Stadium of Light.

The hosts took the lead right on the stroke of half time when Leighton Baines's mistake allowed Stephane Sessegnon to beat Tim Howard from the edge of the box.

The Black Cats held out in the second half to claim their second conesuctive win under new manager Paolo Di Canio, moving above local rivals Newcastle United in the process.

You can read how the match unfolded with Sports Mole's live play-by-play coverage below.

2pmGood afternoon! Thank you for joining Sports Mole for what is a massive game for both teams as relegation-threatened Sunderland take on Champions League-chasing Everton.

2.02pmWe'll start by looking at the hosts, who haven't had the best of times recently. The Black Cats have won just one of their last 10 games in a period of disruption at the club that saw Martin O'Neill sacked and Paolo Di Canio come in in his place. However, things are looking up for Di Canio as that one win was a thumping 3-0 victory over bitter rivals Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby.

2.04pmDi Canio's passion was evident on the sideline during that match and we haven't seen celebrations like that from a manager for a long time in the Premier League. Such passion looked to inspire the players on the pitch and, if Di Canio can keep that up, then it could be crucial in the relegation battle.

2.06pmHowever, passion can only take you so far and Di Canio will be fully aware of the task that faces him. If Wigan win their game in hand then the Black Cats will be level on points with 18th place. Fortunately for them, their goal difference is significantly better than the teams around them, which could prove to be their saving grace, but they won't want it to come down to goal difference.

2.08pmA win for Sunderland today could see them move as high as 13th, leapfrogging Newcastle, which would delight the Mackems more than anything. However, a loss could see them drop to 16th depending on results elsewhere. The good news for Di Canio, however, is that they can't finish the day in the relegation zone unless they lose by more than 16 goals.

2.10pmEverton, meanwhile, will be bouyed by their goalless draw against Arsenal on Tuesday. The Toffees are still very much in the race for a Champions League spot next season, which would be some achievement considering the quality of the other teams vying for that position.

2.12pmOf course, as David Moyes keeps reminding us, they are still the underdogs to sneak into the top four. Two of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are the more likely to finish in the lucrative position, but Everton are just four points off and would actually move above Spurs with a win today, although Tottenham would have two games in hand over the Toffees.

2.14pmThe only way is up for David Moyes's men, however. They have built a six-point gap between themselves and Merseyside rivals Liverpool in seventh, so no matter what the score is today they will be at least sixth at the end of play.

2.16pmEverton are in fine form at the moment having lost just one of their last eight games in all competitions. Their unbeaten league run stretches back even further, all the way back to February 23rd. Since then they have beaten the likes of Manchester City, as well as picking points up against Spurs and Arsenal.

2.18pmTEAM NEWS: The team news is in from both sides! Sunderland make one change as Jack Colback comes in for Phil Bardsley. Everton, meanwhile make two changes as Osman and Heitinga return to the starting lineup. Full team news coming right up...

2.20pmSUNDERLAND STARTING XI: Mignolet; Rose, Cuellar, O'Shea, Colback; N’Diaye, Larsson, Johnson, McClean, Sessegnon; Graham

2.22pmSUNDERLAND SUBS: Westwood, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Mangane, Mandron, Marrs, Laidler

2.24pmEVERTON STARTING XI: Howard; Coleman, Baines, Distin, Heitinga; Gibson, Osman, Fellaini, Pienaar; Anichebe, Mirallas

2.26pmEVERTON SUBS: Mucha, Oviedo, Naismith, Duffy, Neville, Jelavic, Barkley

2.28pmSo, what can we make of those two teams? Well, there are no surprises on either side really. Di Canio is wise to make as few changes as possible to the team that beat Newcastle as those players will still be on a high after that result.

2.30pmDi Canio will be looking to Danny Graham to provide his side's goal threat, but the former Swansea striker hasn't had the best of times at his new club so far. He has one of the worst goals to minutes ratio in the league and really needs a goal or two to get his confidence back. When on form he can be a real handful and a potential match winner.

2.32pmThe same applies for Stephane Sessegnon really. He hasn't been at his best this season but can be a very tricky player when in the mood. He has the ability to create chances as well as score them, while Adam Johnson also falls into that category. Those two will be key today if Sunderland are to get anything out of this game.

2.34pmEverton, meanwhile, will be looking to Victor Anichebe for the goals today. He has never been the most clinical striker but has hit a decent spell of form recently and his confidence wil be sky-high at the moment. This is probably among the best runs he has had in the Everton first team, and he is keeping Jelavic on the bench with his performances.

2.36pmAs Anichebe is more of a hold-up player than a dynamic striker, he will need support fromhis midfield today. That will come in the significant form of Fellaini, who has made a name for himself as a goalscoring midfielder. He, along with the likes of Pienaar, will look to give Anichebe as much support as possible and make life difficult for the Sunderland defence.

2.38pmThe hosts will also have to be wary of Leighton Baines bombing down the left wing. He has been magnificent this season and is among the best players in the league in my opinion. He is a threat from open play and set pieces, and Everton would not be where they are in the league without him.

2.40pmSo, those are the teams, but what about the history of this fixture? Well, it doesn't make very good reading for Sunderland fans. They haven't beaten the Toffees in the last 19 attempts, a barren spell that stretches back as far as 2001. They have been soundly beaten a couple of times along the way too, the most stark example of which came in 2007 when Everton ran out 7-1 winners.

2.42pmThe most recent of these Everton wins came in November when Fellaini and Jelavic scored in a 2-1 victory for the Toffees, while Adam Johnson got Sunderland's goal.

2.44pmA repeat of that result would be very welcome for Everton this afternoon. They would really put pressure on the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham with a win this afternoon. It is out of their hands, but if they can keep their recent good form going then there is no reason why they couldn't finish in the top four this season.

2.46pmDavid Moyes has done a brilliant job even getting Everton to compete with such teams with what is a shoestring budget in relative terms. There has been speculation over his future at the club but I believe that they should do everything possible to keep him.

2.48pmIn the other dugout, Di Canio is about as new and raw a manager as you can get. He will be hoping for a long time in charge of Sunderland and, results permitting, there is no reason why he can't stay there for a number of years. He has an infectious love for whatever club he is at, which in turn endears him to the fans, so it would be a tough decision for the board should they ever want to get rid of him.

2.50pmPREDICTION: This match is quite a tough one to predict. Sunderland are a better side than their league position suggests, but I still think that Everton have superior quality in their ranks. Having said that, the 'Di Canio effect' is very much relevant, and if Sunderland can repeat the performance that theu produced against Newcastle then Everton could be in trouble. I think this one will finish as a draw, though, so I'll go for 1-1.

2.52pmThe bad news for Sunderland is that their home form is among the worst in the league. They have picked up just 18 points from 16 games in front of their own fans, and only Villa, Wigan and QPR have a worse home record.

2.54pmEverton, meanwhile, have a decent away record having amassed 20 points from 16 games on their travels so far this season. That tally is the seventh best in the league, but the Toffees have a tendancy to draw on the road. Half of their away matches this season have ended all square.

2.56pmThere are six other 3pm kickoffs in the Premier League this afternoon, and I will keep you updated with any major events from all of those matches.

2.58pmRight, we're nearing kickoff here. This is a huge game for both teams involved.

0 minKICKOFF: Here we go! Sunderland are straight on the front foot but Danny Graham has mistimed his run and finds himself offside. There is a positive sense around the stadium.

2 minEverton have an early corner but Mignolet is out to claim very well. As he tries to make a quick clearance Osman cheekily nicks the ball out of his hand, causing Phil Dowd to award a free kick.

4 minOsman and Mignolet have another little skirmish as the Sunderland keeper takes an age to clear the ball. Osman charges the clearance down before fouling the keeper when trying to take advantage.

4 minCHANCE! Sunderland have the first really good chance of the afternoon. Heitinga fails to deal with a ball over the top, allowing Graham in on goal. The striker tries to clip it beyond Howard, but the Everton keeper is out quickly to make a good save. Big early chance for the hosts.

6 minBaines whips a dangerous ball into the box that is cleared behind. The resulting corner is met by Fellaini at the near post, but his effort is blocked and goes behind for another corner.

8 minIt's been quite a fast start to this match as both sides look to attack at every opportunity. You can tell that a win is of great importance for both sides.

9 minA ball into the box sees Graham get the wrong side of Distin, but the Everton defender does very well to wrap his foot around the Sunderland striker and hook it away. Bright start from Sunderland but Everton are defending well at the moment.

10 minUPDATE: Newcastle have made a good start to their recovery from last week's derby defeat to Sunderland. Gouffran has given them a 1-0 lead against West Brom.

11 minMeanwhile, Fellaini has committed a free kick in a very good position for Sunderland. Larsson can be a real threat from these situations and he is eyeing the ball up with great interest at the moment.

11 minCLOSE! It is Larsson who takes and it is not far away! He whips it over the wall and Howard is left stranded as the ball clips the top of the crossbar on its way over the top. Good effort.

13 minHoward comes to claim the ball from a hanging ball upfield. Graham is challenging the keeper, causing him to spill it but he collects it at the second attempt. Howard wants a free kick, but I think the ref is right to let play go on.

14 minSHOT! N'Diaye bursts forward down the left before cutting inside and sending a curling shot towards goal. It is never troubling Howard and goes some way wide, but Di Canio appreciates the effort. As harsh as O'Neill's sacking was, you have to acknowledge that Di Canio has been a breath of fresh air at the club.

16 minLarsson loses the ball in midfield and Everton immediately spring a counter attack. Mirallas gets the ball down the right but his cross is put behind for a corner, which is again dealt with by Mignolet.

18 minDi Canio is as animated as ever on the touchline at the moment. He is such great entertainment that fans could be torn between watching him and watching the game!

20 minSessegnon is released down the left flank by a sweeping long ball, but Coleman is quickly is attendance and he doesn't get fooled the the Sunderland man's step overs, shepherding the ball out safely.

22 minUPDATE: West Ham have taken the lead against Wigan, which is good news for Sunderland. Elsewhere, Fulham have been reduced to 10 men against Arsenal, Steve Sidwell getting his marching orders in the 12th minute.

24 minFellaini commits another foul and Phil Dowd is giving him a good talking to. There is no card produced this time, but Dowd makes it very clear that one more foul will draw a caution.

26 minEverton have done well to stem to inevitable fast start that Sunderland had, and they have eased their way into this one which has quietened the home fans significantly.

28 minDistin is isolated with two Sunderland players bearing down on him. Graham comes up on his blind side and almost steals the ball, but Distin pokes it out for a corner, which comes to nothing,

29 minPENALTY SHOUT! Danny Graham goes down in a heap inside the box as Heitinga climbs over him to win a header. The home fans scream for a penalty, but Phil Dowd is having none of it. Correct decision from the ref.

31 minRose takes the pace up a notch as he surges into the opposition half, leaving two Everton players for dead. He also lifts the noise levels in the stadium, but the optimisitic shouts are soon turned into disappointed groans as he puts too much on his pass towards Graham.

32 minSHOT! Mirallas advances on the opposition box and he has Coleman in support down the right. He chooses to use the full-back as a decoy runner, cutting on to his left and going for goal. His shot is deflected, though, and bounces wide of the target.

34 minThe Sunderland fans aren't happy with Everton as they play on when Rose is down. The ball goes out for a throw in, which Fellaini takes quickly with Rose still down. In the end, Mignolet collects a cross but the home fans aren't happy with the Toffees for playing on there!

36 minFellaini is now being roundly booed when he gets the ball after that quick throw. I'm sure he won't mind that one bit, though.

38 minPhil Dowd plays advantage for a Coleman handball right on the edge of the box. Sessegnon goes for goal and forces Howard into a save before Dowd pulls play back for the free kick. That is a harsh decision.

39 minCLOSE! The free kick isn't in the easiest position to shoot, but that doesn't stop Larsson. He fires a curling effort in towards the top right corner, and it flashes just wide. Very good strike from the Sunderland man.

41 minBaines feeds the ball into Pienaar, who tries to help the ball on its way to Mirallas. Colback does well to intercept the pass and clear the danger as Mirallas would have been in on goal had that reached him.

43 minYELLOW CARD! Heitinga is the first man to enter Phil Dowd's notebook this afternoon. He is shown a yellow for blocking Sessegnon off despite Distin having the situation under control. Silly defending.

44 minSAVE! Larsson is getting closer and closer with these free kicks. This time he curls the ball towards the top corner and is only denied by a flying Tim Howard save.

45 minGOAL! Sunderland 1-0 Everton (Stephane Sessegnon)

45+1 minWhat a time to score for Sunderland! That one came out of nothing really. Baines gives the ball away carelessly with a very uncharacteristic mistake and he is punished. Sessegnon recieves the ball and takes his shot early, finding the bottom corner from the edge of the box. First blood to the hosts!

45+2 minHALF TIME: Sunderland 1-0 Everton

3.50pmSunderland strike the killer blow just before the break, and Moyes will be frustrated at how it came. His side had been matching Sunderland all the way but it was a misplaced pass from Baines of all people that allowed the hosts in for the goal. Perhaps Tim Howard could have done better as Sessegnon's strike wasn't too powerful, but that is being pedantic. The balme for that goal has to fall on Baines's shoulders.

3.52pmIn truth, if anyone deserves to be ahead at the break it is Sunderland. They had a great chance through Danny Graham early on and Larsson has come close on a number of occasions with free kicks.

3.52pmIn truth, if anyone deserves to be ahead at the break it is Sunderland. They had a great chance through Danny Graham early on and Larsson has come close on a number of occasions with free kicks.

3.54pmEverton, meanwhile, haven't really created enough in an attacking sense. They have been very much in the game throughout, but Mignolet hasn't been tested enough. Anichebe is struggling to make a big impact up front.

3.54pmEverton, meanwhile, haven't really created enough in an attacking sense. They have been very much in the game throughout, but Mignolet hasn't been tested enough. Anichebe is struggling to make a big impact up front.

3.57pmMoyes will still be confident that his side can get something out of this one, though. Sunderland have been the better side slightly, but if Everton play as well as they are capable of then the three points are up for grabs in the second half.

4pmThe first half started brightly but turned into a bit of a midfield battle after the first 10 minutes or so. 50% of play was in the middle thrid in the opening 45 minutes.

4.02pmEVERTON SUB: Moyes is trying to solve the problem of lack of firepower up front with this sub. Jelavic comes on in place of Gibson, which will result in a reshuffle of Everton's formation.

45 minKICKOFF: We're back underway at the Stadium of Light as Everton restart the match. Cna they overturn this deficit as they look to move into fifth in the league?

47 minUPDATE: Arsenal took the lead against 10-man Fulham just before half time, which isn't great news for Everton. It was Per Mertesacker who got the goal.

49 minEverton have started the second half very brightly. They must have got quite a stern talking to at the break as they look a lot more lively now than they did in the first half.

50 minN'Diaye puts good pressure on Everton and, assisted by a couple of teammates, they force the visitors all the way back to the keeper which draws appreciation from the home fans.

51 minSHOT! It's easy to see why Danny Rose is a fan favourite here. He races down the left before cutting inside and taking a heavy touch that seems to have gifted possession to Everton. The full-back shows great desire to win the 50-50 challenge, however, before driving a shot just wide from the edge of the box.

53 minUPDATE: Norwich have scored twice in as many minutes to take a 2-0 lead over Reading. Ryan Bennett and Elliott Bennett got the goals.

55 minMirallas sends a corner right into the dangerzone and Mignolet is really struggling to get there. The ball drops into a very crowded six yard box, but the Sunderland keeper is saved by the referee's whistle as he blows for a foul.

57 minEverton are really struggling to get going in this match. They need to get their best players - the likes of Pienaar, Baines and Fellaini - involved a lot more.

58 minPienaar tries to get himself involved by taking on McClean, but the Sunderland man shows good strength to hold the midfielder off and launch another attack. Pienaar has been way short of his best so far.

60 minA long ball up to Jelavic is only cleared as far as Fellaini on the edge of the box. The Belgian takes it down and is lining up a half volley but N'Diaye nips in to steal the ball. Sunderland are winning every 50-50 challenge at the moment.

62 minSAVE! Big save from Mignolet, but I'm not sure he knew too much about it! Anichebe lays the ball off to Fellaini, who drills a low shot goalwards. The initial shot doesn't look like it will cause too many problems, but Jelavic gets a slight touch as it comes through, forcing Mignolet to adjust his position at the last second. Fortunately for Sunderland keeper, it is straight at him and he makes the save.

63 minSAVE! Everton are starting to create more going forward now. Anichebe and Jelavic link up inside the box, resulting in the former curling an effort over the bar. He perhaps should have passed it to Osman on the edge of the box there, but it was worth a go.

65 minAnichebe looks to spin away from his man in the box, but Rose isn't fooled as he puts in a fine sliding tackle. Nice idea from Anichebe and it almost came off, but Rose did very well.

67 minUPDATE: West Brom have equalised against Newcastle, which is good news for Sunderland as they would go above the Magpies as things stand. It was Billy Jones who got the goal.

69 minSunderland are defending very deep at the moment, which is inviting pressure. There is still plenty of time left in this one so going so defensive this early could backfire for the hosts.

71 minMirallas has an effort on goal but it is not one he will remember for long. He didn't catch hold of the ball and it bobbled harmlessly wide of Mignolet's goal.

72 minA long ball over the top threatens to let Jelavic through on goal, but Rose gets a vital touch with the ball flying over his shoulder. More good defending by the full-back, who has had a very good game today.

74 minUPDATE: Reading have pulled a goal back against Norwich courtesy of a Gareth McLeary strike. It is 2-1 to the Canaries in that one.

76 minYELLOW CARD! Coleman is shown a yellow card for pulling McLean back. That is quite a harsh decision from Dowd.

77 minEVERTON SUBS: Moyes makes a double change as he looks to get something out of this game. Naismith and Barkley are the men entrusted with that task, replacing Osman and Anichebe.

77 minEVERTON SUBS: Moyes makes a double change as he looks to get something out of this game. Naismith and Barkley are the men entrusted with that task, replacing Osman and Anichebe.

77 minYELLOW CARD! Larsson pings a ridiculous pass back to Mignolet from his own half, and the ball looks like it will fly over the keeper's head. He is forced to catch it to keep it out, giving away an indirect free kick inside the box and picking up a yellow card.

79 minOFF THE LINE! Everton tee Leighton Baines up and he smashes the free kick towards goal from 12 yards out, but the wall stands strong to block the shot and then scramble it clear.

80 minSUNDERLAND SUB: Derby hero David Vaughan comes on to the field to replace Larsson. He gets a great reception from the home support, a sign of how much the matches against Newcastle mean to these fans.

82 minUPDATE: Stoke have doubled their lead against QPR, and you'd have to think that the Hoops are down now. It was Jonathan Walters who got the goal from the penalty spot.

83 minCHANCE! Big chance for Sunderland to wrap this game up! Johnson finds space down the right and advances into the area. He tries to squeeze it past Howard from a tight angle, but the Everton keeper does well to save with his feet.

85 minGraham looks to have got the better of Heitinga and is through on goal, only to be pulled back by the ref for a foul on the Everton defender. Graham, Di Canio and 40,000 Sunderland fans don't agree, but it was the right decision.

87 minFellaini is brought down in the middle of the park and reacts angrily to the double challenge from Vaughan and Sessegnon. Dowd calms things down quickly and the situation quickly resolves itself.

89 minTime is running out for Everton now. They still can't find a way through the Sunderland defence, who have been very organised and disciplined today.

90 minThere will be three minutes of added time at the Stadium of Light.

90+1 minSUNDERLAND SUB: Goalscorer Sessegnon makes way as Di Canio looks to beef up his backline, introducing Kader Mangane to the match.

90+2 minThe home fans chant the name of Di Canio, who looks like he has masterminded his side to another win here. He really has lifted the spirit around the club.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Sunderland 1-0 Everton

4.54pmDi Canio greets the full time whistle with the same delight, vigour and enthusiasm as a goal. Sunderland pick up a vital three points to lift them further away from the relegation zone. They move up to 14th and there are now six points separating them from the dropzone. Di Canio is still out soaking up the adulation of the home support and hugging every player. What a character.

4.56pmAs for Everton, their Champions League hopes may well be over after that defeat. Arsenal's win puts the Toffees five points behind the top four having played two games more than both Spurs and Chelsea. What will disappoint Moyes as much as the result is the way his side played today. They never really got going and were far short of their best.

4.58pmToday is all about Sunderland, though. With just four games left they are six points clear fo the drop and they will now be very confident of staying up. They aren't quite safe just yet, but I think one more win would be enough to secure their Premier League status next season.

5pmRight, that's it from me today. Thank you for joining Sports Mole for this afternoon's match which saw Sunderland take a big step towards Premier League safety courtesy of a 1-0 win over Everton. Be sure to stick around for the match report, reaction and anaylsis, all of which will be on site shortly.

Everton boss David Moyes on the touchline during the match against Spurs on April 7, 2013
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