Phil Smith analysis: Sunderland didn't buckle but in pace and precision, Everton were just a class apart

A free-kick, moments before the end.
Defoe came close but Sunderland were outclassedDefoe came close but Sunderland were outclassed
Defoe came close but Sunderland were outclassed

Wahbi Khazri ran up and simply slapped it straight out for a goal-kick. Perhaps he was expecting a run into the channel, perhaps it was an audacious attempt to chip Joel Robles in the Everton goal.

Either way, it highlighted what had become another meek ending to a Sunderland game.

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This was better than the Southampton collapse. After scoring just before half-time, Everton threatened to run amok. Ross Barkley had an effort pushed just wide, Tom Davies crashed the post with a superb half volley.

The Black Cats were on the ropes but came out in the second half and with their opponents sluggish, stepped up a level.

Jermain Defoe almost ran clear twice, Fabio Borini had a shot deflected wide.

The crucial moment came when Defoe's effort bounced agonisingly clear from the underside of the bar.

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Moyes made two substitutions before the resulting corner was taken, Honeyman and Khazri for Borini and Gibson. Finally, you thought, Khazri had a chance to influence the game still in the balance. Less than a minute later, it was all over.

Sunderland over-committed, inexplicably leaving Lukaku unmarked and loitering with intent by the half-way line. Cleverly staying just inside the Sunderland half, he surged clear and with the help of the scrambling Bryan Oviedo, turned home.

It was a moment of real naivety that undid 35 minutes of progress.

It showed how fine the margins are at this level; Defoe's effort may well have been the one that led to a precious and uplifting point.

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The truth is, however, that in pace and precision, Everton were a class apart.

Sunderland had a two week break coming into this game and yet for large parts of the second half looked laboured and leggy, unable to live with the pace of Seamus Coleman, Enner Valencia, Kevin Mirallas and Lukaku.

Coleman will have few more enjoyable games, rampaging down the right from first whistle to last with little opposition.

On the ball they were more composed, Tom Davies impressive and Idrissa Gana Gueye metronomic.

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Sunderland are trapped in a bind, unable to keep the ball well enough to build attacks slowly and surely, and lacking the pace to launch any counter-attacks.

Whichever division the Black Cats find themselves in, and it increasingly looks like it will be the Championship, a real injection of pace and youth is needed. This was another game in which they fell behind and were left one-paced and one-dimensional in their response.

Had Defoe scored it may well have been different, but the ease with which Everton poured forward at times means it would take an extreme optimist to see Sunderland leaving with a positive result.