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Sunderland vs. Everton, final score 1-1: plenty of chances, few goals at the Stadium of Light

A little luck and either side might have walked away with a win, but instead they split the difference.

Gareth Copley

Coming from behind to get a point might be admirable, but it's not going to do much to help Everton's position in the Premier League. Their 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light puts them level with Liverpool and Tottenham, but still four points out of that elusive fourth place. Sunderland, meanwhile, would've been happier with their point had a last-minute penalty appeal not been waved away.

The first half got off to a fine start, with the hosts attacking right from the whistle. Connor Wickham's header was off-target, but it seemed an omen of good things to come. Sure enough, the match was full of end-to-end action for the first 10 minutes, and Everton had their own fine chance off a decent move between Romelu Lukaku and Samuel Eto'o.

The momentum slowed, however, after an injury to Gareth Barry. The midfielder was stretchered off, replaced by Darron Gibson. That seemed to knock the wind out of both sides, slowing the tempo. Chances remained at both ends. Aidan McGeady sent a shot inches wide, and minutes later Ross Barkley had his strike cut out. Wickham remained lively on the left, taking advantage of the space afforded to him, while Tim Howard had to use his leg to block a shot from Jordi Gómez.

Back on for the second half, Sunderland looked as though they were still having a little nap. Just shortly after the restart, a poor backpass from Liam Bridcutt allowed Lukaku to pounce, easily breezing past Wes Brown. A goal looked inevitable, but Lukaku hesitated, and a sliding Costel Pantilimon managed to block the shot. A mere five minutes later, the Belgian was rattling the woodwork.

So it came as a surprise when Sunderland took the lead. Leighton Baines brought down Will Buckley, giving Sunderland a free kick in that famed dangerous position. Seb Larsson was the one to take, curling in a gorgeous shot that went through the crumbled Everton wall and had no trouble evading Tim Howard.

Sunderland, however, foolishly threw away their lead. Wickham brought down Seamus Coleman inside the area, giving Everton's spot kick specialist the chance to do his job. Baines sent his kick low and although Pantilimon chose correctly, he was unable to keep out the equalizer.

The hosts could have had a chance to take all three points in the dying minutes of the match. Howard, shepherding the ball into his area, panicked when Wickham came too close, falling on the ball. Problem is, replays showed the keeper was clearly outside his area -- but considering Howard didn't use his hands or arms, the referee was right to wave play on.

Sunderland: Pantilimon; Reveillere, Brown, O'Shea, Vergini; Bridcutt; Wickham, Jordi Gomez (Rodwell 81), Larsson, Johnson (Buckley 64); Fletcher

goals: Larsson 67'

Everton: Howard; Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman; Barry (Gibson 13), McCarthy; Barkley (Osman 86), Eto'o, McGeady (Naismith 70); Lukaku

goals: Baines 76'