Everton again left it late, but goals from Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic gave the Toffees the full three points as Martin O'Neill and Sunderland were left wondering what happened. Adam Johnson had put the Black Cats in front right before halftime with a highlight reel worth short-range volley strike.
Everton had the better of the play early but true to their form, it was Sunderland who should have taken the early lead. Tim Howard had to make a point blank save on Stéphane Sessegnon and Steven Fletcher's shot a few minutes later rolled just wide of the post. Given Everton's propensity to concede early goals, supporters were likely unsurprised by the start, but pleased the goals finally didn't go in against them.
Everton lost Kevin Mirallas midway through the half to an apparent hamstring injury, Steven Naismith took his place. Everton got closer and closer to scoring as the half progressed but it would be the Black Cats who took the lead before halftime.
On what was essentially the final play of the half, Craig Gardner brought down a clearance from a Sunderland corner and lofted a ball in the Everton box that found Adam Johnson who volleyed a shot past Howard. Johnson had gotten behind Leon Osman was caught ball watching for a split second, giving Johnson enough time to create the space he needed.
The goal was Sunderland's first this season scored by someone not named Steven Fletcher. Want another fact? It's the sixth straight match that Everton has conceded the opening goal in.
With 12 minutes left in the match and a disappointing home loss staring them in the face, Everton once again managed to turn things around. Marouane Fellaini came to Everton's rescue, beating Simon Mignolet with a perfectly placed shot to the far corner after receiving the ball just outside the box and making a spin move to create himself some space. In Mignolet's defense, there was severe traffic in front of him and he had no chance to react to the quick shot.
Infused with confidence, Everton wasted no time taking the lead as Nikica Jelavic got behind the Sunderland defense two minutes later and beat Mignolet again to put the Toffees ahead. Jelavic beat Gardner, getting on the end of a clever back heel pass from Fellaini.
Sunderland poured on the pressure in the final minutes, but Everton's defense stood strong as they held on for the victory.