KENYA BROWN - Thursday, May 12, 2016
DeAndre Yedlin and Sunderland guaranteed their Premier League status on Wednesday night with a huge win over struggling Everton at the Stadium of Light.
Goals from Patrick Van Aanholt and Lamine Kone would prove to be enough as the Black Cats cruised to a win over the Toffees that would ultimately send rivals Newcastle United and Norwich City down to the Championship next season.
Sunderland entered the midweek game with the advantages of being out of the relegation zone after a thrilling 3-2 win over Chelsea last weekend and a game to spare. Anything but a win would have led the fight for survival to the final game of the season this weekend - something the team did not want to happen.
Yedlin started in his usual position at right back in the Black Cats massive win.
The home side opened the scoring in the 38th minute through van Aanholt whose free kick totally confused Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles, but sent Sunderland supporters into a frenzy.
Everton showed just how struggling a side they have been in the second half of the season as they failed to convert on any of the opportunities they had at goal. In addition, with the team having possession of the ball for 62 percent of the game, one would expect some reward.
However, it was Sunderland's night and their defender Kone would pick the perfect time to score his first goals of the season to ensure their safety.
The Ivory Coast international scored his first three minutes before halftime when Everton failed to properly clear a Sunderland corner kick. Frenchman Yann M'Vila headed the ball back into the area and Kone would volley his strike into the goal.
Kone put a stamp on Sunderland's survival in the 55th minute when Robles failed to control the ball after another corner kick and the defender was in the right place to pounce on it and score.
The win will ensure that Sunderland finished the season in 17th place no matter the result in their final league game of the season against Watford.
While staving off relegation brings much relief to Sunderland supporters, they will now hope that the team's American owner Ellis Short will turn their fortunes around before next season to ensure that a relegation battle does not happen again.