Sunderland 3-0 Everton: Sam Allardyce's side secure safety and send Norwich and Newcastle down to the Championship
- Sunderland knew a win would see them safe and relegate Norwich and Newcastle
- Patrick van Aanholt scored in the 38th minute to make it 1-0 to Sunderland
- Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles was at fault for failing to save the tame free-kick
- Lamine Kone doubled Sunderland's lead shortly before half-time with a volley
- Kone then scored again after more dire defending and goalkeeping from Everton
- 'Are you watching Newcastle?' the locals asked. Why would they, with the outcome so resoundingly certain. Who wants to witness his own funeral?
Sam Allardyce versus Everton? Well, there was only ever going to be one winner there. And what a win it was. Confident, emphatic; Sunderland were two goals clear by half-time and the third made certain of three points with 34 minutes remaining. Allardyce has done an outstanding job here.
Sunderland were significant odds on for relegation when he took over on October 9, with just three points from eight games. They were a place off the bot.tom and averaging 0.37 points per match; carry on like that and they would have been gone quicker than Aston Villa. Allardyce has raised that to 1.2 points per game. Had he been in from the start, Sunderland would be where Everton and Watford are now, and comfortable
Patrick van Aanholt pictured celebrating Sunderland's opening goal with his manager Sam Allardyce at the Stadium of Light
Van Aanholt ran straight towards Sunderland manager Allardyce on Wednesday night after they opened the scoring
Sunderland celebrate Lamine Kone making it 3-0 against Everton as they secured survival and sent Norwich and Newcastle down
Sunderland defender Younes Kaboul pictured yelling towards the fans as his side survival relegation from the Premier League
Sunderland manager Allardyce pictured celebrating after full-time as it was confirmed that they will not be relegated this season
Sunderland secured their Premier League status by beating Everton as they relegated Norwich and Newcastle on Wednesday night
Sunderland supporters pictured holding up a banner that reads 'Bye Bye Mags' as Newcastle were confirmed as relegated
MATCH FACTS, PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, RATINGS AND MATCH ZONE
There will always be a number of clubs that need simple security, and that is what he offers. He is much more than a Red Adair rescue act, though, and the way he has turned this diseased club around, under pressure, and with only one flaky January transfer window to make improvements cannot be underestimated.
So events at the end of last season were for the best after all. Shaking hands with West Ham was right for both parties. They have moved on and so has he – appreciated on Wearside in a way he never was in east London. They love him up here, singing his name – that rarely happened at Upton Park – and parading banners of appreciation around the perimeter.
In turn, he feels that affection, joining the lap of honour at the end with a big, goofy grin and clowning around with those whose support is most vocal. He is their guy. They are ecstatic with the way he has saved them, and the way he has simultaneously condemned Newcastle to a wilderness beyond the richest Premier League in history.
What an irony. Mike Ashley set up his club to make money, not least from recruitment, and has ended up excluded from football's great windfall. Ashley found a Champions League winner in Rafa Benitez, but too late. Allardyce has a less stellar CV but Sunderland gave him enough time to make an impact. And he did.
Sunderland defender Younes Kaboul (pictured in the background) went close with this curling shot but it went wide of the target
Kaboul's shot went just wide of the far post with Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles grateful that it was off target
Sunderland boss Allardyce started the game by sitting in the dugout on Wednesday night at the Stadium of Light
So not a trophy, but it felt like a trophy. Indeed, without winning an actual cup, or the lottery, it really could not have got any better for the locals. Staying up was grand – but sending Newcastle down at the same time? Well, that was like having Christmas and your birthday, with a visit from the Easter Bunny thrown in. And maybe a pay rise. Fair to say, there were a lot of happy faces around the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland were never in danger here, their victory never in doubt. Everton had a little go, as they do, and then fell apart, as they do. It is surely the end game for Roberto Martinez now.
Allardyce said before the off that John Stones could learn a lot from his own player Lamine Kone, but he was talking about defending not goalscoring.
Turns out he can do both. Kone was superb. Solid at the back, in a way Everton simply are not, while adding two goals, the second and third, settling nerves and ending any chance of a big finish.
It was the third that summed up the chaotic climax to Everton's campaign. Wahbi Khazri curled in a corner that caught goalkeeper Joel Robles unaware. Heaven knows why, because he had been doing it all game, his dead ball deliveries one of Sunderland's most potent weapons.
It looked close to going in but Robles scuttled backwards and palmed it frantically away. The ball then struck a cluster of blue shirts at the near post, strangely gathered as if waiting for some mode of public transportation, rebounded across goal and Kone stuck it in from close range. His other goal came from inside the six yard box, too. Not that anyone cared about the aesthetics.
This was a night for just getting the job done. And Sunderland did, with gusto.
Jermain Defoe won the free-kick that led to Sunderland's opening goal in the 38th minute at the Stadium of Light
Van Aanholt pictured scoring the first goal for Sunderland from a free-kick that caught Everton goalkeeper Robles off guard
Everton conceded in the 38th minute as they went on to taste defeat in their trip to the North East on Wednesday night
Sunderland defender Van Aanholt's free-kick went around the wall and beat Robles in the centre of his goal
Van Aanholt pictured running towards the Sunderland dugout after scoring their opener in the 38th minute against Everton
Everton truly are the go-to team for those needing a specific outcome in these closing stages of the season, though. When Leicester required a win, to cap their title celebrations, Everton obligingly waved them through, and with Sunderland desiring victory for survival and to relegate Newcastle and Norwich, Everton gave up the ghost after roughly 15 minutes.
Oh, they had plenty of possession, as always, but not in a way that threatened to ruin Sunderland's night. Vito Mannone had to play a goalkeeper-sweeper role on the odd occasion and made several fine saves once the game was lost, but early on when it was in the balance a lone Matthew Pennington header after eight minutes was the best of it. Everton drew pretty patterns that ultimately signified nothing, like bad art.
They looked competitive initially only because nerves left Sunderland taking a while to get into their stride. Once Allardyce's players worked out that they would have to take possession of the ball, rather than simply hope Everton dribbled into their own net, however, there was only going to one winner.
No team gets relegated over one match, though, so this season it has helped that Newcastle have got it so wrong. What would they have given for a goalscorer like Jermain Defoe, whose movement always tested Everton? Defoe does not fit into Newcastle's chosen model of buy young, buy resale value – so instead, he kept Sunderland up, by Allardyce's admission.
Lamine Kone pictured slamming his shot past a helpless Robles on Wednesday night as Sunderland made it 2-0
Kone looks on as his shot goes into the back of the net to make it 2-0 to Sunderland against Everton before half-time
Sunderland's players celebrate Kone's goal that made it 2-0 to the home side against the visitors from Merseyside
He didn't think Defoe could lead a line when he arrived, and happily admits he was wrong. Defoe did that brilliantly, at one time holding his man off and feeding the ball back to his midfield as determinedly as Andy Carroll or any of Allardyce's preceding battering rams.
Yet Sunderland are far from a long ball side and it was neat skill from Defoe that drew an Everton foul to set up the first goal.
There were seven minutes to go before half-time when Defoe was brought down outside the area, and two men stood over the ball: Khazri and left back Patrick van Aanholt. Khazri was favourite but Van Aanholt sprang a surprise – not least on goalkeeper Robles. His curled effort took no deflection, but maybe one was expected. Robles moved along his line and the ball went in where he had previously stood.
Gary Neville famously compared David Luiz's defending to a 10-year-old on PlayStation; this was like watching one of those rod-controlled table football keepers, as operated by a player with no hand eye co-ordination. Should have pushed, but pulled instead. It was all downhill for Everton from there.
Two minutes before half-time, Sunderland achieved the necessary breathing space. A Khazri corner again, headed out by Leighton Baines but recycled by Yann M'Vila. His looping header caught Everton's back line surprisingly absent – well, maybe not surprisingly, but absent – and Kone lashed it into the roof of the net.
There were no nerves after that. Why would there be? This was Everton, after all. This was Allardyce. It was all rather inevitable.
Kone scored again to make it 3-0 to Sunderland after more dire defending and goalkeeping from Everton
The Stadium of Light erupts as Sunderland make it 3-0 and all but secure their Premier League status even with 35 minutes to go
Sunderland players celebrate making it 3-0 as Kone bagged his brace after more dire defending and goalkeeping by Everton
Kaboul shows his emotion as Sunderland secured survival with a win over a lacklustre Everton on Wednesday night
Defoe celebrates Sunderland's win with goalkeeper Vito Mannone as Norwich and Newcastle were sent down to the Championship
Everton manager Roberto Martinez went into this fixture at the Stadium of Light under pressure with fans wanting him out
The Stadium of Light was packed for this match between relegation-threatened Sunderland and Everton on Wednesday night
Sunderland's supporters were in full voice as they fought their way towards Premier League safety with a win