Sunderland continued their seemingly relentless march towards the drop with another defeat - though at least this time it was a spirited one - as Everton ran out 1-0 winners at the Stadium of Light.
The first half was a perhaps surprisingly competitive affair. Everton, as you'd expect, posed the greater and more consistent threat, but Sunderland had some teeth too.
Steven Naismith and Fabio Borini exchanged big misses, the latter after some fine hold-up play by Connor Wickham, and it was surprising when the half-time whistle blew without a breakthrough.
After the break it remained an open affair, as you'd expect from two teams who both needed to win albeit for very different reasons. The attacks kept coming and, to Sunderland's credit they kept on fighting.
What wasn't coming, however, was chances. Not for Sunderland, anyway. It was a familiar story of getting to within sight of goal and surrendering the initiative with a usually tame long-range effort.
Everton's eventual winner was a familiar story too. The excellent Deulofeu went past Alonso and cut it across goal, only for it to hit Brown and squirm into the net. I dare not count the amount of own goals from Sunderland this season (okay, it's 6), but if you defend as deep as we do, it's am occupational hazard. They don't just happen.
Even then, Sunderland didn't give up and the long-range efforts just kept coming. Some even briefly threatened the goal. It never looked Sunderland's day, though.This was a typical relegation performance in the sense that they gave what they had, but it just wasn't enough.
Always quite liked the Championship anyway...
Sunderland: Mannone: Bardsley, O'Shea, Brown, Alonso, Cattermole, Colback Larsson 70'), Ki, Johnson, Borini, Wickham
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines, Osman (Barkley 58'), Barry, McCarthy, Deulofeu (McGeady 78'), Naismith, Lukaku
Goals: Brown OG (75')