Arouna Kone scores hat-trick as Everton hit Sunderland for six
Striker Arouna Kone's hat-trick saw a Gerard Deulofeu-inspired Everton rack up their biggest Premier League win in eight years with a 6-2 victory against a shell-shocked Sunderland.
Kone, whose partnership with fellow goalscorer Romelu Lukaku continues to flourish, will claim the headlines but the influence of the Toffees' 21-year-old livewire winger was a key component in only their second home league win of the season.
It was somewhat fitting the 21-year-old, signed from Barcelona in the summer after a previous loan spell at the club, was the focal point as Everton recorded their highest win under manager Roberto Martinez, a fellow Catalan, and their best since beating the Black Cats 7-1 in November 2007.
Deulofeu opened the scoring and provided two assists before being withdrawn to a standing ovation just past the hour while Kone remained to take the plaudits and the match ball at the final whistle after taking his tally to five goals in six league starts.
Everton were coasting at 2-0 thanks to Deulofeu and Kone but Sunderland, on the back of their first win of the campaign against arch-rivals Newcastle a week ago, appeared to have clawed their way back with goals from Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher.
But they were lured in by the openness of the game and were ruthlessly taken apart in 16 second half minutes as a Sebastian Coates own goal was followed by strikes from Lukaku and two more from Kone to dump Sam Allardyce's side back down to earth after last weekend's derby day joy.
In addition to their previous one home win Everton had managed just six goals in their previous five Premier League matches at Goodison but took full advantage of obliging and ill-disciplined opponents who actually began the brightest with Patrick Van Aanholt smashing a shot against the post in the fourth minute.
In the same attack Defoe was denied by the legs of Tim Howard, Adam Johnson hit the post and Fletcher's rebound was blocked by Seamus Coleman and that provided the wake-up call the hosts needed.
Kone's delightful flicked pass through Sunderland's newly-installed three centre-back formation allowed Deulofeu to fire through the legs of both backtracking defender Billy Jones and goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon for his first league goal since returning to the club.
Kone, who turns 32 in less than a fortnight and is out of contract at the end of the season, scored his first with a fierce left-footed shot which took Pantilimon by surprise.
Defoe's volley in first half added time was soon followed by Fletcher's close-range header to level things up before Deulofeu came to the fore again as his cross was turned in by former Liverpool defender Coates, under pressure from Lukaku who finally managed to get his goal six minutes later when another perfect pass from the Catalan.
Two more completed Kone's hat-trick as Sunderland completely fell apart, underlining the extent of the task Allardyce has to save them this season.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"Hat-trick for Kone heading home from a gorgeous cross by Lukaku. Everton are buzzing here." - former Everton and England striker Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) celebrates Arouna Kone's hat-trick in the 6-2 win over Sunderland.
Tim Howard: 6
Seamus Coleman: 6
John Stones: 6
Ramiro Funes Mori: 5
Bryan Oviedo: 5
Gareth Barry: 7
James McCarthy: 7
Gerard Deulofeu: 8
Ross Barkley: 7
Arouna Kone: 8
Romelu Lukaku: 7
Brendan Galloway (on for Oviedo, 25): 6
Kevin Mirallas (on for Deulofeu, 65): 6
Leon Osman (on for Lukaku, 78): 5
Costel Pantilimon: 5
Sebastian Coates: 5
Wes Brown: 5
Billy Jones: 4
DeAndre Yedlin: 4
Lee Cattermole: 5
Yann M'Vila: 5
Adam Johnson: 4
Jermain Defoe: 5
Steven Fletcher: 5
Jack Rodwell (on for Cattermole, 38): 4
Sebastian Larsson (on for Yedlin, 64): 4
Duncan Watmore (on for Fletcher, 75): 4
Aroune Kone grabbed the headlines - and the match ball - with a hat-trick but Gerard Deulofeu was Everton's creator-in-chief and was a permanent threat down the right.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Deulofeu's inch-perfect through-ball for Romelu Lukaku to score the crucial fourth goal which killed off Sunderland's chances.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Everton boss Roberto Martinez was his usual cool and collected self in the technical area but the same could not be said for his opposite number Sam Allardyce who frequently turned away in disgust at some of his team's hapless play.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Everton's inability to keep a clean sheet at home - their last coming in April - as they squandered a 2-0 lead when in complete control.
WHO'S UP NEXT?
West Ham v Everton, November 7 (Premier League)
Sunderland v Southampton, November 7 (Premier League)
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce felt his side's frailties were exposed after they had equalised.
"When we tried getting the third we opened the game right up and let Everton hit us on the counter-attack. If you're to do that then you have to score the third not them," he told Sky Sports 1.
"But we didn't get the third then we played into their hands because our frailties became so obvious on the fact that we stopped defending when we lost the ball.
"We allowed them three in seven minutes on letting them play behind and through us. Having got the game back to 2-2, which I thought was something we should not have done. We should have made sure we secured a point."
The Black Cats attempted 17 shots, their most of the season so far, with nine on target and Allardyce felt his side showed enough fight to stay in the game.
"We've more attempts on target than Everton today so from an attacking point of view we've been better in their box than they have in ours. But their finishing was better. Some of the balls into our box should have been easily dealt with."
Despite the win, Toffees boss Roberto Martinez felt his side could have been better off the ball.
He said: "We were very good on the ball today. But you want perfection and with that in mind, we could have been better off the ball."
Martinez also held special praise for Deulofeu and hat-trick hero Kone.
"Two years ago, Gerard would not have been able to play three games in a week and have such an impact. It shows how far he has come.
"As for Arouna, you have to believe you can be important to a football club and he has always had that self-belief. His attitude has been excellent."