Is there any hope now?
Sunderland continue their limp to relegation with another inevitable defeat, this time at Everton. David Moyes' men may now have to win a shade under fifty percent of their remaining games to avoid the drop, with relegation rivals still showing signs of life compared with the dead men walking on Wearside.
As for the man himself, his job at Sunderland is becoming a unique one in Premier League history. Bottom of the table and looking hopeless, Moyes appears to be under little immediate threat of the sack.
Sunderland were not as bad as they have been in other disasters on the road during this miserable campaign, but the story of the game unfolded with twelve minutes remaining. Had Jermain Defoe's Geoff Hurst-esque shot - which bounced the wrong side of the line - gone in, Moyes might have escaped his former club with a point.
As it was, Sunderland's players - who have looked so fragile at the slightest set back this season - collapsed after that missed opportunity and allowed Everton to seal the game two minutes later.
Here's how this morning's newspapers have reflected on Everton 2 v Sunderland 0.
The Sunday Papers
The Telegraph: Idrissa Gueye and Romelu Lukaku goals ensure unhappy return to Goodison Park for David Moyes
Apt perhaps that Everton should have been the latest setting at which the end of Sunderland's decade in the Premier League is limping to what looks to be a certain Moyes-led relegation:
The last time David Moyes returned to Goodison Park, then as Manchester United manager, the Grim Reaper escorted him from the stadium.
He was dismissed from Old Trafford a few days later, the publicity stunt by a bookmaker correctly predicting impending doom.
On this occasion it is the end of his current club’s Premier League status that seems nigh as Sunderland were beaten 2-0 and remain bottom.
The grim reaper might not have been at Goodison yesterday but there's more than merely a hint of foreboding about David Moyes tenure at Sunderland now:
The quality was not there and you have to out wonder how they will get of their predicament, especially as many of those around them are on an upward trajectory.
In truth, Everton won without breaking sweat and Sunderland's relegation is looking increasingly inevitable.
The Sun: The David Moyes derby settled by goals from Idrissa Gueye and Romelu Lukaku goals as Mackems take another step toward relegation
If his current side lost the 'David Moyes derby' to beckon relegation still further, the Sun reckon the Sunderland boss is safe from the sack for now:
The Scot spent 11 years at Goodison, before Manchester United came calling, but it was a miserable return as the Black Cats lost another life in the fight against the drop.
At least his job on Wearside looks safe for now. At least – the Grim Reaper was not sat over his shoulder this time as he famously was three years ago.
And Jordan Pickford's return to the side after an eight week absence will have England's top clubs keeping on eye on his performances at Sunderland with a summer move looking increasingly likely:
Arsenal and Manchester City have been watching the young goalkeeper and will be keen to see how he performs in the Black Cats relegation scrap.
Sunderland are Romelu Lukaku’s favourite opponent with eight goals against them now.
The Mail: Romelu Lukaku equals Duncan Ferguson's record to down the Black Cats
Ever generous, Sunderland allowed their season-long tormentor Romelu Lukaku to hit his 60th Premier League goal in an Everton shirt, equalling Duncan Ferguson's record. The Mail are another national who believe Moyes remains untouchable:
Former Everton manager David Moyes suffered the same scoreline on his only other return to Goodison Park with Manchester United in 2014.
On that occasion, the Scot was promptly sacked at Old Trafford. A similar fate doesn't await him this time but this defeat is another blow to Sunderland's chances of staying in the Premier League.
But even if Jordan Pickford did have a tricky afternoon, it's difficult to agree with their assessment of who plays in goal for Sunderland for the rest of the season:
Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford was rusty, having been out since Boxing Day with a knee injury, and was lucky to keep out shots by Ademola Lookman and Gueye. Moyes has a big choice to make whether to keep Pickford in goal or recall Vito Mannone, who missed this game through illness.
If Sunderland likely expected little return from a trip to Goodison which is now followed by visit from Manchester City next weekend, David Moyes' season will likely be defined by the games which follow:
Improvement will also be on Moyes' mind with Manchester City up next followed by more winnable fixtures against Burnley, Watford and Leicester.
The Guardian: David Moyes suffers miserable return to Everton with Sunderland defeat
A judgement on the benefits of that trip to New York may be a little premature, but the Guardian have concluded it already looks to have been a bad idea:
So much for mid-season breaks. Both clubs here on Saturday took the opportunity to get away recently, Everton for a spot of warm-weather training in Dubai and Sunderland for a perhaps ill-advised jolly to New York, yet neither of them looked fresher or more energised by the exercise.
But this assessment sums up the match, and the entire campaign as Sunderland were left ruing Jermain Defoe hitting the bar on the 78-minute mark:
Both managers agreed that Defoe’s chance might have proved crucial.
That is turning into the story of Sunderland’s season. If they are going to create only one chance per game, it is important it is taken and, though Defoe is usually reliable, he is not infallible.
All season Sunderland have been a team who have collapsed after going a goal down and if that wasn't the case yesterday with some reasonable endeavour on show after Everton's opener, the mental fragility again showed as David Moyes' men capitulated simply because Jermain Defoe didn't score, allowing Lukaku to seal the deal two minutes later.