Everton 6 - 2 Sunderland
Arouna Kone scored a memorable hat-trick to double his tally of Everton goals
Everton threw away a two-goal lead but then roared back with some sublime attacking football to demolish Sunderland as Arouna Kone completed a memorable hat-trick at Goodison Park.
Buoyed by their derby win over Newcastle last weekend, the Black Cats started positively in what was a surprisingly open contest from the outset and had rung a few alarm bells by hitting the "woodwork" twice in the first quarter of an hour. Patrick van Arnhoult swept Steven Fletcher's cutback onto the post and, after Tim Howard had denied Jermaine Defoe with his leg, Adam Johnson bounced a shot off the same upright.
Capitalising on the space afforded by Sunderland's leaky defence, though, Everton took the lead in the 19th minute. Kone lofted a superbly-weighted pass over the top for Deulofeu to race into and the Spaniard finished tidily, slipping the ball under Costel Pantilimon having turned inside the last man.
Then, after Bryan Oviedo was forced off with a hamstring injury, the home side put together a beautiful passing move on the edge of the Sunderland box that ended with Kone playing a one-two with Lukaku and then sweeping a brilliant left-foot shot into the roof of the net.
What should have been a comfortable two-goal lead at the interval was halved in first-half stoppage time, however, when Defoe profited from naiive defending by John Stones and then a fortunate nick off the defender's toe that lifted his shot over Howard's gloves and into the corner to give Sam Allardyce's men hope for the second half.
Five mintutes after the break, they were level. Everton's frustrating vulnerability to crosses into the six-yard box was exposed again as Van Arnholt had time to measure a right-foot cross to Fletcher who rose above Ramiro Funes Mori and planted a header beyond Howard who was stranded on his goalline.
Rather than buckle as the invective washed out of the stands from an angry home crowd, though, Everton responded impressively with a devastating three-goal burst in the space of seven minutes.
Deulofeu shrugged off a yellow card for another laughably obvious dive inside the opposition box trying to win a penalty by delivering a wicked cross into the heart of the Sunderland penalty area where Lukaku stooped to head home a simple chance from close range but was beaten to the ball by Sebastian Coates who touched it into his own goal.
Deulofeu then surpassed that with a wonderful pass around the back of the visiting defence that released Lukaku into a one-on-one situation with Pantillimon, an opportunity he grabbed with aplomb, rounding the 'keeper and slotting home to make it 4-2.
Then, with 62 minutes gone, Everton countered at speed, Ross Barkley played in James McCarthy and his reverse ball to Kone was clipped in left-footed past the keeper by the Ivorian from the angle.
Deulofeu was then substituted to a standing ovation from the Goodison faithful allowing Kevin Mirallas the chance to impress and the Belgian almost notched a goal of his own within eight minutes of coming on. He managed to dribble around Pantillimon but found the route to goal blocked by two defenders and the opportunity was closed down.
The coup de grace did arrive, though, with 13 minutes to go. Lukaku looked up and spotted his strike partner lurking in the area and with a a sublime cross off the outside of the boot, he picked Kone out with a pin-point cross that the former Wigan man buried inside the post with a header.
Roberto Martinez's men took their foot off the pedal in the closing stages – although Mirallas curled a shot inches wide that would have made it seven – and Sunderland's young substitute, Duncan Watmore, briefly threatened to erode the Blues' lead when he was foiled trying to lob Howard when clean through and the American 'keeper had to make two more parrying saves to deny Defoe and M'Vila but the day belonged to Everton.
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