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Stadium of Light | 26th December 2009 15:00

Sunderland v Everton

Everton left it late to secure an important Premier League point at the Stadium of Light.

Marouane Fellaini was the man to deliver the late Christmas present, lashing in an equaliser five minutes from time.

Sunderland's England striker Darren Bent had given the Black Cats a first half lead but the Toffees' equaliser was reward for their much improved second half display.

Bent underlined his threat as early as the sixth minuted when he headed Andy Reid's left wing free kick over the bar.

Saha uses his dexterity to control a high passSaha uses his dexterity to control a high pass

Everton responded and in the ninth minute some decent approach play culminated in Leon Osman curling in a shot that shaved the post.

Then Louis Saha went close with a couple of quickfire efforts and with the game heating up, Kenwyne Jones soon tested Howard with a crisp effort on the turn.

And the Trinidad and Tobago international striker then turned provider as he whipped in a delicious ball that Bent headed firmly past Tim Howard.

Lucas Neill then blocked another goalbound Bent effort as Sunderland sought to extend their lead.

Belgian smashes homeThe Belgian smashes home the leveller

Everton perhaps lacked confidence in the final third and Steven Pienaar's effort was deflected over ten minutes before half time and Neill cleared off the line again before the break, this time repelling Reid's direct free kick.

And just before the half time whistle Diniyar Bilyaletdinov was wasteful when well placed inside the Sunderland box.

Fellaini nodded a Leighton Baines corner just wide in the first minute of the second period.

Ther Blues looked much more dangerous and sonn Saha slashed a volley wide after Bilyaletdinov had flicked on another Baines centre.

Fellaini celebrates against SunderlandFellaini celebrates

Bent fired over at the other end as the home side countered and sub Bolo Zenden could also have doubled Sunderland's lead before the hour mark.

Neither player went as close as Paulo Da Silva, who was denied by a splendid Howard save in the 68th minute.

David Moyes threw on Yakubu with 20 minutes left and he was involved as Pienaar lashed an effort just wide from 25 yards out.

Saha stabbed wide and then Fellaini smashed home the equaliser with five minutes left.

The Belgian took Tony Hibbert's ball down and rifled an untoppable strike past Martin Fulop, right in front of the travelling Evertonians.

Jordan Henderson went worryingly close for the home side at the death but Everton returned to Merseyside with a point.

 

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