This half-time report has been superseded – click here…
Two great moves, two great goals. Sadly the first was Everton’s, Leighton Baines’s fabulous cross from the left being met by a header that was just too powerful for Craig Gordon.
The head, inevitably, belonged to Cahill. Bloody Tim Cahill as the first text put it, f***ing Tim Cahill as far as the second texter was concerned. Steve Bruce will want to know where the Ferdinand/Turner centre back pairing were at the time, but let us not pretend it was other than a splendid goal.
Which was a shame because what running there had been – the game was only six minutes old – had been made by Sunderland.
From that moment, however, began a spell of impressive pressure that led, via a crass failure by Peter Walton minutes earlier to apply the advantage rule when Kieran Richardson recovered superbly from a bad challenge, to the equaliser.
Bolo Zenden slipped his marker to speed purposefully down the right wing to send in a cross to rival Baines’s, only low and into the path of Danny Welbeck, whose finish was exemplary.
The midfield had been buzzing, we were well on top and the goal was fully deserved. So what did we do next? We handed the initiative back to Everton, Cahill being denied only by a desperate goal line clearance involving Henderson, Gordon and Bardsley. After another Baines cross, this one from a corner.
Come on Tim, you have your obligatory goal against us. No need to rub it in.
A thoroughly entertaining first half ended with Sunderland back on the attack and Bent going reasonably close with his header from Bardsley’s cross.
This game could go anywhere from here …