Cahill and Donovan send Sunderland crashing
Published 28/01/2010 | 05:00
Little wonder that Steve Bruce is prepared to defy the Premier League's age of austerity and spend money. Little wonder the Sunderland manager has already added one defender, Matthew Kilgallon, to his squad, and a second, in Portsmouth's Younes Kaboul, may yet follow.
Bruce cannot afford not to spend. The price of failure is too high. Thanks to strikes from Tim Cahill and Landon Donovan, Sunderland have conceded 18 goals in their last six league outings. After a start to the season which inspired dreams of Europe, Bruce's side hover just three points above relegation.
Bruce totally remodelled his defence here and, yet, within six minutes and four seconds, had found his team pierced with the sort of ease which would shame a Sunday league team. Marouane Fellaini picked the ball up on the right wing, picked his cross and found Cahill's head to make it 1-0.
The second, 12 minutes later, was equally easy. Cahill nodded Leighton Baines' long ball into Donovan's path and the US international raced clear, finishing coolly with his left foot. Everton had created just two chances.
Leon Osman and Cahill went close to extending Everton's lead before the break, while only a brilliant goal-line clearance from George McCartney prevented Donovan doubling his tally -- for the game and his Everton career
Sunderland, content simply to avoid embarrassment, posed little threat, despite the introduction of Kenwyne Jones, the man Bruce is convinced is worth £14m.
"Rafa, Rafa, sign him up," sang the Everton fans, so unimpressive was Jones' performance. That the Sunderland contingent echoed the taunt is telling.