Beckford brace adds to Sunderland misery

Everton 2 Sunderland 0

Jermaine Beckford struck twice as Sunderland suffered yet more misery at Everton this afternoon.

The former Leeds striker found the net twice in the first half to lift Everton further away from Barclays Premier League relegation danger and send Sunderland home from Goodison Park empty-handed again.

The Black Cats, without a league win at the ground since 1996, went close when Tim Howard saved well from Stephane Sessegnon but Beckford's second just before the interval blunted their threat.

Steve Bruce's side created little after the break and surrendered to a fourth successive loss that could have been more emphatic.

It was another dent in their push for Europe but Everton, winning for only the second time in six league games, could still make a late charge.

Beckford's double took his tally after slow start to his Everton career to eight and emphasised that the Merseysiders still have much to play for after their stunning FA Cup win at Chelsea last week.

Beckford stole the limelight from strike partner Louis Saha, who scored four goals against Blackpool three weeks ago but had been out since with a hamstring injury.

Saha took the place of Tim Cahill, who started on the bench after being a slight injury doubt, in the only change to the side which won memorably at Stamford Bridge.

Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon, recently troubled by a knee injury, also had to make do with a place on the bench as Simon Mignolet took his place.

The visitors almost claimed an early lead but Kieran Richardson, playing in an advanced role, spurned a glorious chance after just three minutes.

The former Manchester United midfielder raced onto a fine ball from Sessegnon and was allowed a clear run at goal as Everton mistakenly stopped in anticipation of an offside flag.

Howard managed to force him wide but Richardson should still have done better than to drag a shot across the face of goal.

Sunderland paid for that miss as Everton claimed the lead four minutes later.

Leon Osman found space on the edge of the box and looked to have slipped Saha in but the Frenchman allowed Beckford to sneak through and fire in a shot which Titus Bramble diverted in.

Sunderland were denied an equaliser as Howard produced a brilliant fingertip save to turn a fierce Sessegnon drive from the edge of the box onto the bar.

Everton continued to drive forward themselves with Saha skipping around a challenge from Anton Ferdinand in the area only to be denied by a fine Sulley Muntari tackle.

Saha had another promising opportunity after being fed by Mikel Arteta but slipped as he shaped to shoot.

Everton doubled their advantage six minutes before the break after Arteta beat Ferdinand and John Mensah to pull back for Beckford in front of goal.

The former Leeds striker scuffed his left-foot shot but the ball still had enough power to creep into the bottom corner.

The only downside for Everton was the loss of Marouane Fellaini just before the interval with an ankle injury suffered in a challenge with Sessegnon. Jack Rodwell took his place.

Everton could have had a third soon after the restart when Saha flicked a Phil Neville throw into the danger area but Osman shot wide on the half-volley.

The Toffees thought they had earned their first penalty in 29 league games when Beckford went down under a Mensah challenge after a powerful run from Seamus Coleman but the flag was raised.

Mignolet then came to Sunderland's rescue by saving with his feet in quick succession from Saha and Coleman after the defence had failed to clear.

Osman tried his luck again from the edge of the box after a Bramble header fell into his path but, despite having time to take aim, the otherwise excellent midfielder again put it wide.

Coleman brought another good save out of Mignolet with a well-struck first-time shot from the right which looked to be creeping inside the near post.

Substitute Diniyar Bilyaletdinov skewed another attempt over the bar as Everton pressed until the end.

Osman should have added a third in injury time when he took the ball round Mignolet but Ahmed Elmohamady headed off the line.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms