SUNDERLAND equalled their heaviest defeat under Martin O’Neill after their Everton hoodoo continued.
The Wearsiders, who suffered FA Cup quarter-final misery against the Toffees two weeks earlier, extended their winless run against David Moyes’ side to 18 games after a second half charge saw the weakened hosts seal a 4-0 victory.
The first half was a forgettable affair, with Marouane Fellaini spurning Everton’s best opportunity in the 36th minute when he sliced Leon Osman’s low cross well wide on the turn.
Sunderland’s brightest moment arrived two minutes later when Stephane Sessegnon met Phil Bardsley’s right wing centre with a spectacular overhead kick from 15 yards which drifted just wide of the post.
Everton took the lead seven minutes into the second half after referee Kevin Friend failed to award a foul on Jack Colback as Tony Hibbert barged the Sunderland man and the ball beyond the goal-line.
From James McFadden’s resulting corner, the ball found its way to Osman on the edge of the area who shot through a crowd of bodies.
Simon Mignolet managed to palm the shot away, but Magaye Gueye was alert to power the rebound inside the Belgian stopper’s near post.
The Toffees doubled their advantage with 15 minutes to go when Gueye squared it to Steven Pienaar on the edge of the area, to the left of goal.
Pienaar curled it elegantly beyond Mignolet and into the net off the far post.
Everton then produced a carbon copy of the goal a minute later when Osman collected possession in exactly the same position and beat Mignolet with another curler inside the far corner.
A fourth arrived for David Moyes’ men in the 81st minute when Pienaar did fantastically to keep the ball alive on the right-hand corner flag.
Pienaar pulled it back for substitute Victor Anichebe who mis-hit his original shot back into his own path, before his second attempt deflected off Jack Colback and into the net.
EVERTON: Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Neville (Coleman 84), McFadden (Drenthe 65), Osman, Fellaini (Anichebe 78), Gueye, Pienaar, Stracqualursi. Subs not used: Mucha, Gibson, Distin, Duffy.
SUNDERLAND: Mignolet, Bardsley, Turner, Kilgallon, Colback, Larsson, Cattermole (Ji 68), Vaughan (Wickham 75), Gardner, McClean, Sessegnon. Subs not used: Westwood, Bridge, Meyler, Kyrgiakos. Booked: Cattermole (18), Richardson (83)