Seventh straight win lifts Everton into top four

MIKE COLLETT
Last updated 05:43 13/04/2014
Gerard Deulofeu and Seamus Coleman
Getty Images
SEVENTH HEAVEN: Everton's Gerard Deulofeu and Seamus Coleman celebrate after Wes Brown of Sunderland scored an own goal, as the Toffees earned their seventh straight victory.

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Everton won 1-0 at bottom club Sunderland to leapfrog Arsenal into fourth place in the Premier League on Saturday (local time) while the relegation battle intensified with wins for three clubs in danger of the drop.

The only goal at the Stadium of Light came after 75 minutes when Sunderland defender Wes Brown chested a cross into his own net to give Everton a seventh successive victory and move them into the Champions League places.

With five matches to play Everton have 66 points, two more than Arsenal who were playing FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

Before match Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said his team "needed a miracle" to surive the drop and he now needs an even bigger one as Sunderland's defeat left them four points adrift at the bottom.

Second-from-bottom Cardiff City won 1-0 at Southampton with defender Juan Cala scoring after 65 minutes and Fulham, who are 18th, beat fourth-from-bottom Norwich City 1-0 at Craven Cottage.

Fulham's winner came from Hugo Rodallega who had not scored in the league until last week's win at Aston Villa and has now grabbed two in two games as Fulham eye an unlikely escape.

Crystal Palace eased their relegation fears with a 1-0 home win over Aston Villa thanks to Jason Puncheon's 76th minute winner but West Bromwich Albion, who started the day in 16th place, drew 3-3 with Tottenham Hotspur after leading 2-0 after four minutes and 3-0 after 31.

Palace's victory saw them climb to 37 points and virtual safety while West Brom stayed in 16th place.

The bottom four positions are occupied by Norwich who have 32 points, followed by Fulham (30), Cardiff (29) and Sunderland (25). Sunderland have two games in hand on the teams above them but look to be slipping out of the top flight.

FULHAM AGAIN

Fulham manager Felix Magath admitted that Norwich, playing under former youth team coach Neil Adams for the first time following Chris Hughton's sacking on Sunday (local time), were the better team, especially in the first half, but he was delighted with the three points.

"I am happy with the win but today I am not so satisfied. We have to respect Norwich were the better team but we had a very good goalkeeper who saved us from defeat," he told the BBC.

West Brom manager Pepe Mel was far from pleased after watching his side squander a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Spurs.

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West Brom were 2-0 ahead inside four minutes with goals from Morgan Amalfitano in the first minute and Chris Brunt three minutes later.

Emmanuel Adebayaor then missed with a soft penalty for Spurs before Stephane Sessegnon seemed to have wrapped up the points for the Baggies, scoring after a great solo run in the 31st minute.

The Spurs fightback began when Jonas Olsson put through his own net two minutes later before a 75th minute header from Harry Kane and a goal in the 90th minute from Christian Eriksen saved a point from Spurs.

Mel told the BBC afterwards: "We did start very well, we had a good first half but the result has gone against us.

"The problem is we are so keen to win the points. We need to play the same way regardless of being 3-0 up or if 0-0. This is very difficult for me, the players are very down but we have five games to come. Every point is very important."

The top three sides Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City are all in action on Sunday with Liverpool playing Manchester City at Anfield and Chelsea going to Swansea City.

All of Saturday's matches kicked off at 3.07pm to commemorate the Hillsborough disaster 25 years ago this weekend when 96 Liverpool fans died at their FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in Sheffield.

That match was abandoned after six minutes and the seven-minute delay on Saturday marked that duration and also included a minute's silence around the grounds.

- Reuters

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