Everton moved into the Premier League's top four after Wes Brown's own goal gifted them a seventh straight win and left Sunderland bottom of the table.

A spirited Black Cats display was undone with 15 minutes to go when Brown diverted Gerard Deulofeu's cross into his own net while trying to clear.

Sunderland's best chance came when Fabio Borini's shot was cleared by John Stones with Tim Howard beaten.

Gus Poyet's side remain seven points adrift of safety, with six games to go.

Record-breaking Everton win again

Everton have broken their record for the most points in a season in the Premier League era (since 1992) after surpassing the 65 points they managed in 2007-08. Their highest tally in the old Division One was 90 points in 42 matches in 1984-85.

The Toffees have also equalled their club record by winning seven league games in succession for the first time since April 1987. Just as in 1984-85, they finished that season as league champions.

The Black Cats boss said this week that his side need a "miracle" to stay up and this defeat, along with wins for the two teams immediately above them - Fulham and Cardiff - will only make that harder to achieve.

Brown's own goal was a cruel way for Sunderland to be denied a point but that will not matter to in-form Everton, who occupy a Champions League place for the first time since the start of January.

If last week's win over their nearest rivals Arsenal was an example of Everton at their free-flowing attacking best, this was a reminder that Roberto Martinez's men can scrap for points, too.

The Toffees had plenty of the ball in the first half but created just one clear chance, when Steven Naismith spun away from Brown in the box but blasted over the bar.

Game was a dogfight - Martinez

Sunderland were not faring much better in front of goal, mustering only shots from distance by Borini in the first half-hour, and they needed Everton's assistance in finding a way through the visitors' defence.

Leighton Baines inadvertently played in Borini but, after he rounded Howard, his angled shot was blocked on the line by Stones.

The home side looked more dangerous at the start of the second half but they could not force the Toffees goalkeeper into a meaningful save.

Everton survived a goalmouth scramble after Phil Bardsley's header was blocked, while Ki Sung-Yueng nodded wide from an Adam Johnson cross, and the game remained in the balance.

Naismith went close again at the other end, firing wide after goalkeeper Vito Mannone came out of his area and failed to deal with a bouncing ball.

Poyet curses Black Cats lack of 'luck'

In the final half-hour, Martinez's side finally began to show signs they could open up the Sunderland defence, but their goal still came almost out of nothing.

After good work by Deulofeu down the right, Brown tried to block his pull-back at the near post but only succeeded in steering the ball past Mannone.

Sunderland pushed forward in the final 15 minutes but the closest they came to an equaliser were long-range strikes by Ki and Connor Wickham, both of which were kept out by Howard.

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet: "If you need to show somebody somewhere in the world where they don't watch Sunderland every week, you show him this game and tell him this is the story of the season and that's it.

"You don't need to show anything else because that's it. Something always happens and that something is always, or most of the time, against us.

"I don't have a word because it's not one feeling, really. It hurts, it hurts because it doesn't matter what we do, something happens. And it's not an excuse, I don't really believe in luck."

Everton manager Roberto Martinez: "It was a difficult game and you could tell what was at stake for both teams.

"From our point of view, to keep a clean sheet in those circumstances was very pleasing and it was also important to take one of our chances too. It makes for a very satisfying performance full of character and personality. "

"We came into this game on the back of a stylish win at home to Arsenal but, in this league, you have to adapt quickly to playing different teams and doing what you have to do."

For a gallery of photos from Saturday's Premier League action, head to the BBC Sport Facebook page. 

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (3)

Sunderland

  • 25 Mannone
  • 02 Bardsley Booked
  • 28 Alonso
  • 04 Ki Sung-yueng
  • 16 O'Shea
  • 05 Brown
  • 11 Johnson Booked
  • 33 Cattermole
  • 10 Wickham
  • 14 Colback (Larsson - 70' Booked )
  • 31 Borini

Substitutes

  • 07 Larsson
  • 08 Gardner
  • 23 Giaccherini
  • 24 Cuéllar
  • 27 Vergini
  • 30 Scocco
  • 32 Ustari

Everton

  • 24 Howard
  • 23 Coleman Booked
  • 03 Baines
  • 18 Barry
  • 26 Stones
  • 15 Distin Booked
  • 10 Deulofeu (McGeady - 78' )
  • 16 McCarthy
  • 17 Lukaku
  • 14 Naismith
  • 21 Osman (Barkley - 58' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Robles
  • 02 Hibbert
  • 07 McGeady
  • 11 Mirallas
  • 20 Barkley
  • 29 Garbutt
  • 32 Alcaraz
Ref: Lee Probert
Att: 38,445

Match Stats

Shots

24 20

On target

6 3

Corners

6 6

Fouls

17 15

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Sunderland 0, Everton 1.

90:00 +3:03 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Sunderland 0, Everton 1.

90:00 +1:57

Offside, Sunderland. Marcos Alonso tries a through ball, but Phil Bardsley is caught offside.

90:00 +1:12

Attempt saved. Adam Johnson (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

90:00 +0:05 Booking

Booking Sylvain Distin (Everton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

89:57

Foul by Sylvain Distin (Everton).

89:57

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

87:43

Attempt missed. Phil Bardsley (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

87:06 Booking

Booking Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.

86:32

Foul by Gareth Barry (Everton).

86:32

Connor Wickham (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

86:05

Seamus Coleman (Everton) wins a free kick on the right wing.

86:05

Foul by Connor Wickham (Sunderland).

85:13

Attempt blocked. Ross Barkley (Everton) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Aiden McGeady.

84:22

Foul by Gareth Barry (Everton).

84:22

Connor Wickham (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

83:36

Attempt missed. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Lee Cattermole.

83:08

Attempt saved. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Vito Mannone.

82:21

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Seamus Coleman.

80:47

Attempt missed. Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Sebastian Larsson.

78:37

Attempt blocked. Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

78:33

Attempt saved. Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Adam Johnson.

77:57 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Everton. Aiden McGeady replaces Gerard Deulofeu.

74:08 Goal scored

Goal! Own Goal by Wes Brown, Sunderland. Sunderland 0, Everton 1.

73:25

Attempt missed. Ross Barkley (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Gareth Barry.

72:47

Attempt blocked. Steven Naismith (Everton) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gareth Barry.

71:53

Foul by James McCarthy (Everton).

71:53

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

70:07

Attempt saved. Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Adam Johnson.

69:46 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Sebastian Larsson replaces Jack Colback.

69:14

Attempt missed. Adam Johnson (Sunderland) left footed shot from long range on the right misses to the right. Assisted by Fabio Borini following a set piece situation.

68:25

Foul by Gareth Barry (Everton).

68:25

Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

67:53

Attempt missed. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Leighton Baines with a cross following a corner.

67:26

Corner, Everton. Conceded by Adam Johnson.

66:18

Ross Barkley (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

66:18

Foul by Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland).

66:08

Attempt saved. Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lee Cattermole.

65:42

Attempt blocked. Adam Johnson (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Marcos Alonso.

64:41

Attempt missed. Sylvain Distin (Everton) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right following a corner.

64:05

Corner, Everton. Conceded by Vito Mannone.

64:04

Attempt missed. Ross Barkley (Everton) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Romelu Lukaku with a cross.

63:28

Steven Naismith (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

63:28

Foul by Adam Johnson (Sunderland).

62:58

Hand ball by Adam Johnson (Sunderland).

61:23

Attempt missed. Steven Naismith (Everton) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right.

61:12

Attempt missed. Wes Brown (Sunderland) header from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ki Sung-Yueng following a set piece situation.

60:29

Foul by Ross Barkley (Everton).

60:29

Lee Cattermole (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

57:46 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Everton. Ross Barkley replaces Leon Osman.

56:50

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Leon Osman.

56:46

Attempt blocked. Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Phil Bardsley.

56:43

Attempt blocked. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

56:40

Attempt blocked. Phil Bardsley (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Johnson with a cross.

56:16

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Sylvain Distin.

56:14

Attempt blocked. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Colback.

55:20

Attempt saved. Steven Naismith (Everton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Seamus Coleman with a cross.

53:19 Booking

Booking Phil Bardsley (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.

53:12

Steven Naismith (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

53:12

Foul by Phil Bardsley (Sunderland).

52:07 Booking

Booking Seamus Coleman (Everton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

51:56

Foul by Seamus Coleman (Everton).

51:56

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

50:34

Foul by Steven Naismith (Everton).

50:34

Lee Cattermole (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

48:28

Attempt blocked. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Marcos Alonso.

48:07

Attempt blocked. Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Fabio Borini.

45:26

Foul by Gareth Barry (Everton).

45:26

Jack Colback (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Sunderland 0, Everton 0.

45:00 +1:07 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Sunderland 0, Everton 0.

45:00 +0:31

Attempt missed. Steven Naismith (Everton) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by James McCarthy with a cross.

42:02

Attempt missed. Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) header from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Adam Johnson with a cross following a corner.

41:35

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by James McCarthy.

41:21

Attempt blocked. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Phil Bardsley with a headed pass.

40:43

Offside, Sunderland. Adam Johnson tries a through ball, but Ki Sung-Yueng is caught offside.

40:04

Romelu Lukaku (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

40:04

Foul by Phil Bardsley (Sunderland).

39:04

Attempt blocked. Leighton Baines (Everton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

38:12

Leon Osman (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

38:12

Foul by Jack Colback (Sunderland).

35:48

Gareth Barry (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:48

Foul by Jack Colback (Sunderland).

35:17

Foul by Romelu Lukaku (Everton).

35:17

Wes Brown (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

33:28

Corner, Everton. Conceded by Wes Brown.

33:25

Attempt blocked. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Leighton Baines with a cross.

33:09

Gareth Barry (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

33:09

Foul by Connor Wickham (Sunderland).

31:35

Attempt blocked. Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Johnson.

30:51

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by John Stones.

30:49

Attempt blocked. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is blocked.

29:51

Attempt missed. Gerard Deulofeu (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.

28:59

Gerard Deulofeu (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

28:59

Foul by Adam Johnson (Sunderland).

28:14

Corner, Everton. Conceded by Fabio Borini.

27:43

Corner, Everton. Conceded by John O'Shea.

24:13

Foul by Leighton Baines (Everton).

24:13

Adam Johnson (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

23:11

Foul by Seamus Coleman (Everton).

23:11

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

23:01

Attempt blocked. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

21:12

Gerard Deulofeu (Everton) wins a free kick on the right wing.

21:12

Foul by Marcos Alonso (Sunderland).

19:17

Foul by Phil Bardsley (Sunderland).

19:17

Leon Osman (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

18:43

Attempt missed. Leon Osman (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.

18:00 Booking

Booking Adam Johnson (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

17:55

Foul by Adam Johnson (Sunderland).

17:55

Leighton Baines (Everton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

17:02

Attempt blocked. Leighton Baines (Everton) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

15:51

Corner, Everton. Conceded by Wes Brown.

15:49

Attempt blocked. Leon Osman (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Romelu Lukaku.

14:53

Phil Bardsley (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14:53

Foul by Steven Naismith (Everton).

13:22

Attempt missed. Steven Naismith (Everton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Leighton Baines.

12:37

Offside, Sunderland. Phil Bardsley tries a through ball, but Adam Johnson is caught offside.

9:55

Attempt blocked. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Johnson.

9:17

Attempt saved. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by James McCarthy.

9:00

Attempt saved. Gerard Deulofeu (Everton) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by John Stones.

8:11

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Sylvain Distin.

7:39

Leon Osman (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

7:39

Foul by Phil Bardsley (Sunderland).

6:47

Leighton Baines (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

6:47

Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

6:01

Attempt missed. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Phil Bardsley following a set piece situation.

5:34

Foul by James McCarthy (Everton).

5:34

Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

4:14

Steven Naismith (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

4:14

Foul by John O'Shea (Sunderland).

3:35

Attempt missed. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) header from the right side of the six yard box misses to the right. Assisted by Seamus Coleman with a cross.

0:36

Phil Bardsley (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:36

Foul by Leighton Baines (Everton).

0:17

Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

0:17

Seamus Coleman (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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