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Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 16:57 GMT
Everton see off Sunderland
Jesper Blomqvist
Jesper Blomqvist opens his account at Goodison Park
Everton 1-0 Sunderland
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Everton's miserable run finally came to an end with an impressive display at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Summer signing Jesper Blomqvist scored in the first half to give the Toffees some desperately needed points in the Premiership.

It was Blomqvist's first goal for the club since moving to Goodison Park in August and only his second in English football.

It was a welcome win after losing five on the trot in the league
Walter Smith
Everton boss
But it was enough to return Everton to winning ways after five successive league defeats.

Given Everton's beleaguered Premiership form and Sunderland's scrappy performances this season, a grim encounter at Goodison Park seemed likely.

The two sides did not disappoint as Sunderland attempted to keep the desperate Toffees at bay with a series of crunching tackles.

But Everton showed early promise and came close in the opening minutes.

  Match facts
27mins Blomqvist heads home the winning goal
47mins Alexandersson shoots wide from penalty area
67mins Unsworth of Everton is booked for foul on Haas
80mins Phillips' shot from the penalty area is deflected by Weir
82mins Blomqvist receives a rapturous applause as he is replaced by Nick Chadwick
84mins Haas is booked for a foul on Chadwick
Campbell had a chance five minutes in when he narrowly missed from the left side of the six-yard box after a cross from Tony Hibbert.

Sunderland soon responded with a Jason McAteer effort from right side of penalty area, which went wide.

But it was the Toffees who would make the most of their opportunities in the first half to give Walter Smith's side some much-needed hope.

In the 26th minute, Blomqvist sent a powerful header past Black Cats' goalkeeper Thomas Sorenson after a brilliant cross from Niclas Alexandersson down the right hand side.

It was a well-earned reward for Alexandersson, who was at the centre of most of Everton's positive moves forward.

Kevin Kilbane and Niclas Alexandersson
Alexandersson (right) spurned a series of chances on Saturday
The Swedish midfielder nearly scored 14 minutes before when he just failed to connect with David Unsworth's swirling cross to the far post.

Alexandersson was again involved when Everton could have doubled their lead just before the break.

He cut inside Stanislav Varga on the right and raced into the box only for Julio Arca to produce a saving tackle inside the six-yard box.

Buoyed by their lead against a lacklustre Sunderland, the home side continued to penetrate the opposition with zeal in the second half.

Alexandersson missed another chance when he shot wide from the right side of penalty area in the 47th minute.

We must also start to play away from home the way we do at the Stadium of Light - our away form is a major headache
Peter Reid
Sunderland boss
Gary Naysmith also came close, surging into the Sunderland half and unleashing a shot which the fortunate Sorensen fumbled wide of the far post.

Despite their narrow lead, Everton started to look sloppy in defence with 15 minutes to go.

Kevin Phillips had a couple of near chances and the home side looked as though they may concede a late equaliser.

But Walter Smith's side held on to grab their first Premiership win since mid-December.

Everton: Simonsen, Hibbert, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Alexandersson (Cleland 85), Gemmill, Gascoigne, Naysmith, Campbell, Blomqvist (Chadwick 83).

Subs Not Used: Gerrard, Tal, Moore.

Booked: Unsworth.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Haas, Craddock, Varga, Gray, McAteer (Quinn 57), Thirlwell, McCann, Arca (Bellion 45), Phillips, Kilbane.

Subs Not Used: Williams, McCartney, Macho.

Booked: Haas.

Att: 30,736

Ref: D Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill).

BBC Sport's Stuart Hall
"Gascoigne was a cool head among hot heads"
Everton manager Walter Smith
"Sunderland are one of those teams where you have to match them physically"
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