Match ends, Everton 6, Sunderland 2.
Arouna Kone scored a first Everton hat-trick as his side thrashed Sunderland.
The visitors twice hit the post early on but Everton went ahead when Kone played Gerard Deulofeu over the top before scoring the second himself.
Jermain Defoe's fine individual goal and Steven Fletcher's header levelled matters but three quick Everton goals changed the course of the game.
Sebastian Coates' own goal, Romelu Lukaku's solo effort and Kone's second arrived before he headed in late on.
It was a perfect response to those who had questioned Everton's home form after failing to win four of their last five games in the Premier League at Goodison.
And on a day when the club remembered former boss Howard Kendall, it proved a fitting tribute as Everton moved into ninth in the Premier League.
For Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce, a man who prides himself on clean sheets, his side's second-half capitulation shows there is plenty of work to do over the coming months as the Black Cats remain second from bottom.
Allardyce has work to do in defence
Following a 3-0 win against fellow strugglers Newcastle last weekend, Allardyce's decision to switch to a 3-5-2 system initially proved a positive one.
The manager deployed Patrick van Aanholt and DeAndre Yedlin in the wing-back positions with Billy Jones, Coates and Wes Brown filling three centre-back roles.
Dutchman Van Aanholt, in particular, used his pace to be involved high up the pitch early on and struck the post after a smart one-two with Fletcher before leading another counter-attack which resulted in Adam Johnson hitting the same part of the woodwork.
But Van Aanholt was caught upfield when Kone lifted the ball over the top to Deulofeu, who scored his first goal since signing permanently for Everton.
Sunderland's back three also failed to step out and tackle Kone when he exchanged passes with Lukaku to score his first of three goals.
Despite the Black Cats getting themselves back into the game five minutes into the second half, three Everton goals in seven minutes effectively ended the contest.
Part of Sunderland's problem was the loss of defensive midfielder Lee Cattermole to injury shortly before half-time, exposing the visitors' defence and allowing Everton to take the initiative.
Deulofeu and Kone get Everton on track
Having started the season with games against several of last season's top eight, Everton now have a run of more favourable fixtures.
They will rarely be afforded the amount of space they were in this encounter, but with games against West Ham, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Norwich, Leicester, Newcastle and Stoke in November and December, there is scope for Roberto Martinez's team to make headway.
With Phil Jagielka out injured, there were some defensive frailties as John Stones gifted the ball to Defoe before his shot took a deflection off the Everton defender, and Ramiro Funes Mori was easily beaten in the air by Fletcher.
However, Martinez will be buoyed by Kone's hat-trick given the Ivory Coast international has yet to make a telling impression since he left Wigan for £6m in July 2013, having missed much of the last two seasons with a knee injury. His 35th Everton appearance also triggered a new 12-month extension to his existing contract.
Deulofeu's calm finish and two assists were also a reminder of his talents, although an appalling second-half dive, for which he was booked, showed the 21-year-old still has plenty to learn.
Man of the Match: Arouna Kone
Everton boss Roberto Martinez: "Arouna Kone is just a phenomenal story. He has had one injury but it has been a career-threatening injury and it takes a long time to come back from it.
"We have seen a Kone that was ready to perform for the team, but I thought his overall play was outstanding, not just the goals but the way he played with others. At the end, the fans were singing his name."
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce: "The defensive frailties were just too much today and we allowed Everton to win the game comfortably in the end. If we don't sort those out, it will be a long haul over the next few months or so.
"I don't understand why they did it. We came here to look after Everton and we didn't play too bad in the first half at all, and for us to get it back to 2-2, that should be enough for us today. We needed to make sure Everton just couldn't score but we made it so easy for them to score three in seven minutes.
"I need the players to understand what an opportunity they had today. They let their emotions get carried away."
Stats you need to know
- There were more goals scored in this fixture (eight) than the last five top-tier clashes between Everton and Sunderland combined (seven).
- Sunderland have failed to keep a clean sheet in 11 of their last 12 Premier League matches.
- Kone became the fifth Ivorian to score a Premier League hat-trick (Aruna Dindane, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Yaya Toure); more than any other African nation.
- Kone's hat-trick goal was the 300th scored in this season's Premier League.
- Defoe has scored in five of his last eight Premier League appearances at Goodison Park against Everton.
Everton face a trip to West Ham on Saturday ahead of the international break, while Sunderland host Southampton, also on Saturday.
- 5StonesBooked at 53mins
- 25Funes Mori
- 8OviedoSubstituted forGallowayat 25'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 19DeulofeuBooked at 54minsSubstituted forMirallasat 65'minutes
- 10LukakuSubstituted forOsmanat 78'minutes
- 24YedlinSubstituted forLarssonat 64'minutes
- 6CattermoleSubstituted forRodwellat 38'minutesBooked at 54mins
- 3van Aanholt
- 18DefoeBooked at 18mins
- 26FletcherSubstituted forWatmoreat 75'minutes
- 14Gomez Garcia-Penche
- Andre Marriner
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Everton 6, Sunderland 2.
Attempt blocked. Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Johnson.
Brendan Galloway (Everton) is shown the yellow card.
Offside, Sunderland. Jermain Defoe tries a through ball, but Duncan Watmore is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Yann M'Vila.
Attempt saved. Yann M'Vila (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Adam Johnson.
Corner, Everton. Conceded by Jack Rodwell.
Attempt saved. Duncan Watmore (Sunderland) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top left corner.
Offside, Everton. Ross Barkley tries a through ball, but Kevin Mirallas is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Kevin Mirallas (Everton) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ross Barkley.
Attempt blocked. Billy Jones (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by John Stones.
Attempt blocked. Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Duncan Watmore.
Offside, Everton. Leon Osman tries a through ball, but Ross Barkley is caught offside.
Substitution, Everton. Leon Osman replaces Romelu Lukaku.
Offside, Sunderland. Adam Johnson tries a through ball, but Patrick van Aanholt is caught offside.
Goal! Everton 6, Sunderland 2. Arouna Koné (Everton) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Romelu Lukaku with a cross.
Substitution, Sunderland. Duncan Watmore replaces Steven Fletcher.
Attempt missed. Ramiro Funes Mori (Everton) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Kevin Mirallas with a cross following a corner.