Match Report Everton offered up another shameful away performance, going down meekly to Sunderland who easily picked up the three points they needed to safeguard their membership of the Premier League and send Newcastle and Norwich down to the Championship. The Blues fell behind 2-0 by the half-time interval to goals by Patrick van Aanholt and Lamine Kone and then conceded another when Joel Robles could only parry to the feet of the Ivorian defender and he converted from close range. Coming in the wake of Saturday's abject capitulation at the King Power Stadium to newly-crowned Champions, Leicester and the even more embarrassing surrender at Anfield in the Merseyside derby last month, the outcome of this game came as little surprise to those Evertonians, far fewer in number than the usual committed throng, who made the journey to the northeast this evening. Seven goals conceded in those two prior away fixtures became 10 as the Black Cats capitalized on Everton's inability to convert superior possession into chances and their notorious weakness at set pieces. All three goals came as the result of dead-ball situations. The first and third were incidents that Robles will want to forget but none of the defenders covered themselves in glory and were it not for a couple of other important stops by the Spanish goalkeeper, the score might have been higher. Gareth Barry returned to the starting XI after injury and Ramiro Funes Mori was back from suspension so Matthew Pennington moved to right back. Further forward, Kevin Mirallas came in for Oumar Niasse. Everton looked the more composed sides in the early going, enjoying plenty of possession but without creating much until a deep cross in the ninth minute was met by Pennington but his looping header dropped wide. Sunderland began to assert themselves more as the match passed the quarter-hour mar, seeking to capitalise on a period when Leighton Baines was off the pitch tending to strapping on his calf. A tame header by Younis Kaboul was all the Black Cats could muster from a decent spell, however, and Joel Robles comfortably gathered. It was Kaboul who was the unlikely source of the closest moment of the half thus far when he turned inside Pennington from the home side's left flank and whipped a shot across goal and narrowly past the far post. At the other end, Tom Cleverley almost had Mirallas away on goal but Vito Mannone was out of his area to clear quickly before Barkley tried a speculative curler from outside the box but slipped and his shot went well wide. A fairly lifeless encounter came alive seven minutes before half-time, though, when Funes Mori's foul on the edge of the box gave Van Aanholt an opportunity to line up a direct free kick that he drove through the defensive wall and in past Robles who had badly misjudged the Dutchman's intentions and vacated the centre of the goal. Robles recovered well a couple of minutes when he turned Jermaine Defoe's good header behind but when Everton failed to clear the resulting corner, Kone smashed home from close range as the ball was nodded back into the danger zone to double the lead. Martinez replaced Barkley with Lennon at the start of the second half and an early free kick ended with Pennington, again the only player in Blue apart perhaps from the willing Mirallas to emerge with much credit, heading towards the top corner but Mannone made a two-handed catch. At the other end, Jan Kirchoff glanced a header wide from a corner as Sunderland continued to press. Sunderland increased their lead 10 minutes into the second half, however. Defoe was put clean through by a through-ball as the visitors' defence opened up again but while he lifted the ball over Robles, Pennington raced back with Stones to clear the ball off the line for a corner. Khazri swung a wicked in-swinging dead-ball delivery in that Robles parried awkwardly off the goal line but the ball dropped to Kone off a defender's leg and he slammed it into the net. Everton were carved open once more almost immediately but Khazri couldn't pick Defoe out in the centre for what would surely have been a fourth. Shortly afterwards, Deandre Yedlin slid an unchallenged ball across the Everton box but couldn't find a red and white jersey. After Robles had made a good save to deny Defoe, Mannone was called into real action for the first time when he parried a Funes Mori header to safety midway through the second half. Barry then forced another stop from the 'keeper with a decent header off a corner but it was steered too close to Mannone to really trouble him. The final stages were a bit of a non-event as the Black Cats wound down the game. Mirallas clipped the woodwork with one shot and Lukaku sliced another shot onto the crossbar from a similar situation as Kone's second goal but the ball wouldn't go in for Martinez's sorry outfit. Another miserable evening for Everton, then, and perhaps the last match that Martinez oversees because it's hard to see how his tenure can possible last until Sunday's final game against Norwich. Fed-up Everton fans are sure to make their feelings about the manager known at what is supposed to be an upbeat occasion to see out the season. top From my seat: Sunderland (A) Another embarrassing display where our team folds like a deck of cards after conceeding a goal with comic cuts defending of a free kick with a shambolic wall and a keeper who jumped the wrong way. Had he stood his ground the ball would have hit him. Unbelievable!! Once again, as soon as we ship one we follow up with another dose of shambolics within minutes and the few travelling Blues knew from experience that was game over. We start the second half with Lennon replacing Barkley who had been having quite a nightmarish first half. We shipped another one from a set piece, could have been a few more if the Mackems had pushed it . Near the end, a naked figure entered the field, Lukaku hit the bar from four yards out and Mirallas chipped one just wide. That was our entertainment for the night. A sorry state of affairs has descended upon our club which is affecting players and fans alike. Our present manager seems unable to energise the players who have replaced grit, fight and determination with a namby-pamby 'keep passing' game and give up as you lose the ball. It's just not good enough and the board need to make some announcements before Thursday's awards night is sullied and certainly before our final league game on Sunday. My MotM Pennington – not so much for a swashbuckling dynamic display but for the lad playing for the shirt and visibly trying all he knew and putting so-called senior pros and 'next big things' to shame. It would be my wish to turn up on Sunday with all thoughts of toxic protest clear of my mind and replaced with a sense of a clean slate and a new beginning, which hopefully will bring back hope for me and I am sure many others. Not much of a report, boys and girls, but see you there on Sunday for a pleasant afternoon out... I hope! UP THE BLUES Ken Buckley top Match Preview Everton travel to the northeast for their final away match of a wretched season to take on a Sunderland side who could secure their Premier League safety with a victory in front of the Sky Sports cameras. The Black Cats' thrilling 3-2 win over Chelsea in a game they twice trailed, combined with Norwich City's defeat to Manchester United and Newcastle United's failure to beat already relegated Aston Villa, means that a win over Roberto Martinez's faltering Toffees would condemn the Canaries and Magpies to the Championship. Norwich, who visit Goodison Park on Sunday, are also in action and can keep their slim hopes of avoiding the drop alive if they beat Watford and Everton prevent Sunderland from winning. But Newcastle, together with their ex-Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, will only be able to watch on and hope that their arch local rivals don't get all three points. It will, on the evidence of Everton's last two games, be desperate hope. The Blues allowed 68 shots against them over the two games at Anfield and Leicester's King Power Stadium and shipped seven goals in the process. The two performances were as awful as anything witnessed by Evertonians since the turn of the century and they have made Martinez's job almost untenable. Having criticised his players for their lack of focus and intensity against Leicester last Saturday and admitted that he could take no positives from the game at all, the manager has since said that his team didn't let him down in the 3-1 defeat. Whether that means he will stick with a similar line-up for this evening's game will be revealed but there can be little doubt that, if they put on the same level of performance again, Sam Allardyce will have few concerns about preserving his record of never having overseen the relegation of a club from the top flight. Matthew Pennington was the only player whom Martinez refused to criticise at the weekend but, with Ramiro Funes Mori back from a three-match suspension, it would not be a surprise to see the Argentine drafted straight back into the starting XI. Pennington has performed competently in the last two games but it would be prudent to pull the youngster out of the firing line given how badly Everton are struggling for form at the moment. It's at right back, however, where the most acute problem remains with Seamus Coleman ruled out and both Tony Hibbert and Felipe Mattioni also injured. Both Muhamed Besic and Bryan Oviedo have looked lost as emergency right backs but Martinez might be hesitant to throw the likes of Callum Connolly or Jonjoe Kenny (back from his loan spell with Oxford United) into the heat of battle away from home. In midfield, Gareth Barry could make his comeback from the groin strain he picked up in the Merseyside derby last month and that could either see Tom Cleverley dropped to the bench or moved out to the left side of midfield at the expense of Oumar Niasse. The Senegal striker had a better game at Leicester than was the case against Bournemouth but still looks miles off Premier League pace. Martinez has demanded a response from his team this week, holding up the win over the Cherries as evidence of the kind of “fighting” spirit that exists among his players. In truth, that 2-1 home victory, the only one in nine Premier League matches, was earned on the back of a display in common with the flat and uninspiring offerings from Everton since they beat Chelsea in March. The kind of fight that the manager seeks was really only in evidence for 40-odd minutes against Manchester United in the cup semi-final and that was only because they were in a do-or-die situation with another date at Wembley on the line. The manager also claimed that his team “didn't understand” the celebratory occasion they found themselves in at Leicester last Saturday and were affected by the circumstances of the match. Tonight's game could be every bit as intense and it remains to be seen whether it will shake Everton out of their torpor or if, as many now believe, there is now too big a gulf between Martinez and his players and he is living on borrowed time. Kick-off: 7.45pm Referee: Anthony Taylor Predicted Line-up: Robles, Oviedo, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, McCarthy, Cleverley, Lennon, Barkley, Lukaku Lyndon Lloyd top * Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.