Everton condemened their former boss David Moyes' Sunderland side to their 17th league defeat of the season with a commanding 2-0 win that sees them remain seventh in the Premier League.
The hosts opened the scoring just before half-time thanks to Idrissa Gueye's first goal in an Everton shirt, leaving Sunderland requiring a comeback if they hoped to come away with anything from Goodison Park.
They made sure of all three points ten minutes from time thanks to top scorer Romelu Lukaku's goal just moments after Jermain Defoe had struck the bar for the visitors.
Hosts dominated proceedings early on
Ronald Koeman opted to field the same side that drew 0-0 away to Middlesbrough two weeks ago, meaning that Lukaku spearheaded the attack with support coming from Ross Barkley and Ademola Lookman out wide.
Sunderland however made a couple of changes to their starting 11 from their 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Southampton in their last outing both in personnel and formation, with Jason Denayer dropping out due to illness in favour of Fabio Borini whilst Vito Mannone was replaced by the fit-again Jordan Pickford, meaning their back three became a back four.
The Toffees signalled their attacking intent after just seven minutes, as Lookman tested the returning Pickford with a shot that the Sunderland goalkeeper almost spilled over the goalline before recovering to spare his blushes.
The opening 45 minutes continued in a rather pedestrian manner as the hosts monopolised possession but looked to bide their time and wait for an opening rather than force the issue, whilst Moyes was happy to let his side sit back and soak up the pressure.
Pickford was tested once more by Gueye, who robbed Billy Jones of possession just outside of the box before driving towards goal and attempting to squeeze the ball in at the near post and just failing.
Gueye's first goal for the club proved crucial
Gueye would be the one to break the deadlock however in the 40th minute, as he made a late run into the box and was picked out by the overlapping Seamus Coleman with a low ball which was slammed high into the net by the Senegalese midfielder to put the hosts a goal to the good.
Tom Davies came close to doubling their lead in the first minute of added time at the end of the first half, but he could only watch as his effort crashed off the far post with Pickford beaten.
The hosts took their foot off the gas somewhat in the second period and although not as dominant as in the first half their opponents still couldn't find a way to get Defoe on the ball, with their top scorer cutting an isolated figure up front,
Lukaku created an opportunity for himself late in the second half after powering past Darron Gibson before blasting a right footed shot a tad too close to Pickford, allowing the Sunderland stopper to parry safely away from goal.
The visitors' big chance came on 78 minutes, as Defoe finally found himself one-on-one with Coleman and feinted left to right before creating a yard of space inside the area and blasting off the underside of the bar before Everton managed to clear.
Sunderland were made to pay for their missed chance just two minutes later via Everton's top scorer Lukaku. The Belgian grabbed his 17th league goal of the season after racing clear of the high Black Cats backline and sending the ball past Pickford from close range, albeit with some help from a deflection via former Toffee Bryan Oviedo to make it 2-0.