Everton hit six to beat Sunderland

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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.

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.

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.

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