Lamine Kone grabbed a brace as Sunderland secured Premier League survival with a 3-0 win against Everton at the Stadium of Light.
The big defender had never scored for the Black Cats until tonight as he grabbed a goal in each half after Patrick van Aanholt had fired Sam AllardyceÂ’s side ahead with a free kick.
Sunderland could and should have won by a bigger margin against an Everton side which again looked like they were on the beach on their summer holidays.
The result moves Sunderland four points clear of the relegation zone with one game to spare so rivals Newcastle and Norwich Â– who beat Watford 4-2 at Carrow Road Â– are condemned to Championship football next season, along with Aston Villa.
Everton enjoyed most of the early possession as they forced Sunderland back into their own territory without really threatening the goal.
However the Black Cats eventually forced their way out and started to enjoy some forays into the ToffeesÂ’ half of the pitch.
But it was defender Younes Kaboul who went close for Sunderland in the 24th minute when he curled a lovely right-foot effort from the left of the area which flashed just wide of the far post.
However Sunderland took the lead in fortuitous circumstances on 38 minutes when they were awarded a free kick just outside the area after Ramiro Funes Mori fouled Jermain Defoe.
Van AanholtÂ’s free kick went straight round the wall and down the middle of the goal but seemed to deceive Joel Robles who took a step to his left as the ball dropped into the net where he had been stood.
The Black Cats could taste safety four minutes later when they doubled their lead.
Everton failed to fully clear a corner and Yann MÂ’Vila headed the ball back into the area for Kone to lash a first time volley high into the net from close range.
Everton had a half-chance early in the second half when Gareth Barry headed a Leighton Baines free kick back into the middle but Matthew Pennington couldnÂ’t get sufficient power in his header to trouble Vito Mannone.
At the other end on 49 minutes Jan Kirchhoff got a touch to KhazriÂ’s left-wing corner but failed to direct the ball into the bottom corner.
Defoe was played through on 54 minutes and, while his effort beat Robles, Pennington was on hand to slide the ball away from the goal.
From Whabi KhazriÂ’s resulting corner Robles could only flap the ball down having almost been caught out at his front post and Kone gratefully fired in his second of the net from close range.
On 58 minutes Khazri went through on goal down the left channel, but instead of going for goal he tried to play in Defoe and ended up passing the ball out of play.
Defoe almost got in on the act on 66 minutes when he was set up by Van Aanholt in the area but Robles did well to parry his fierce strike.
Everton got forward and had a couple of efforts with Funes MoriÂ’s header from a Kevin Mirallas free kick pushed wide of the goal by Mannone who then got down low to deny Leighton BainesÂ’ shot from outside the area.
Mannone had to be alert again on 73 minutes when he got down well to gather a flick header from Barry which was heading inside his near post.
Defoe got through down the left side of the area in the 90th minute but his effort from a tight angle was blocked by Robles while Duncan Watmore was screaming for the pass in the middle.
Mirallas was denied a consolation deep into stoppage time with Mannone pulling off a great save and, from the resulting corner, Romelu Lukaku lashed a close-range effort off the underside of the crossbar as Sunderland held out for the clean sheet.