Two fortunate Danny Graham and Jermaine Defoe strikes helped Sunderland claim a crucial away victory at Everton to boost their chances of Premier League survival.
Graham diverted a wayward Jordi Gomez’s shot with his calf in off the post for his first ever goal for the Black Cats and Defoe added a second in the closing minutes as Sunderland climbed from third from bottom to 14th- though for a few hours.
James McCarthy watched his shot comes off the foot of the post from a distance as the hosts failed to score for the first time in eight league matches.
The Toffees dominated the opening 45 minutes but just could not break the deadlock, with Costel Pantilimon denying Romelu Lukaku, who was through on goal via Leon Osman long ball.
Manager Dick Advokaat unleashed a three-man attack of Defoe, Connor Wickham and Graham on Everton and that proved the turning point for Sunderland, as they slowly began finding their feet. Not long enough, Defoe’s powerful drive came off Wickham.
Pantilimon was back on the visitors’ rescue twice before the break, first smothering Lukaku when the Belgian evaded Sunderland’s backline and then kept out Osman’s rebound.
Everton started the second half with a torrent of corner kicks with Pantilmon again tipping Phil Jagielka’s header over.
Graham eventually struck the first punch on 53 minutes, when he deflected Gomez’s shot from the edge of the box past Tim Howard.
McCarthy came close to restoring parity but was left ruing his failed attempt which could not beat the woodwork.
Defoe secured Sunderland win five minutes from full-time as Adam Johnson’s shot flew off Coleman and on to Defoe, who guided the ball into the net with his thigh.