London, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – An own goal by Wes Brown carried Everton to a crucial 1-0 victory over Sunderland in Saturday’s Premier League showdown at Stadium of Light.
Brown, a former Manchester United defender, unwittingly turned home Gerard Deulofeu’s cross 15 minutes from time, giving Everton the lead that it kept until the final whistle.
With the victory, Everton moved to fourth place in the standings and more importantly, grabbed a two-point edge over Arsenal in the race for the fourth and final UEFA Champions League spot.
“It was a difficult game and you could tell what was at stake for both teams,” said Everton manager Roberto Martinez. “From our point of view, to keep a clean sheet in those circumstances was very pleasing and it was also important to take one of our chances too.”
The loss, for its part, inflicted a serious blow on Sunderland’s survival hopes as it buried itself further in the relegation spot. Sunderland slipped four points behind Cardiff City and five points behind Fulham.
“This has been the story of our season. Again we were doing well in the game, it was very tight and there was nothing between the teams – and then we go and lose the game with an own goal,” said Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet.
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace made it three successive Premier League wins for the first time since 1994 as it defeated Aston Villa. 1-0, to edge towards safety.
Jason Puncheon provided the game-winner with 14 minutes remaining when he fired a shot in off a post following fine work from Yannick Bolasie.
Hugo Rodallega scored five minutes before halftime to carry Fulham to a 1-0 win over Norwich City at Craven Cottage.
In other results, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion settled for a 3-3 draw; Stoke City beat Newcastle United, 1-0; and Cardiff City downed Southampton, 1-0.