Premier League: Everton 2 Sunderland 0

Jermaine Beckford’s concise first-half double allowed Everton to cruise to an easy win over Sunderland.

The 27-year-old opened the scoring in the eighth minute and hit another after latching onto a half-chance just before the break to double his tally and Everton’s lead.

Sunderland started with Simon Mignolet in goal after regular number one Craig Gordon was kept out with a knee injury.

Everton put him to the test early as Marouane Fellaini went close from a well-worked corner kick routine.

With just eight minutes on the clock Sunderland were behind as that early pressure turned into a well-deserved Beckford goal.

Leon Osman played a fine through ball which the former Leeds United striker latched onto before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home.

Louis Saha passed a late fitness test to start and Everton were glad he did as he nearly set up their second.

His skilful flick sent Beckford clear and his shot only just went wide of the target.

Despite being under the cosh for most of the half, Sunderland almost levelled the scores on the half-hour mark.

Stephane Sessegnon unleashed a powerful effort from the edge of the box that sent Tim Howard scrambling and the American goalkeeper made a wonderful fingertip save to deflect the effort into the woodwork.

Everton had won just one of their five previous Premier League games but were playing expansive football.

That lead was doubled just before the break when Beckford scored his second with a predatory finish.

After good work from Mikel Arteta on the wing, Beckford shielded the ball before firing home from close range.

Beckford had a golden chance to complete his first Premier League hat-trick just after half-time, but he could only blaze over after more fine work from Osman.

Everton continued to dominate throughout the second half, but were unable to add gloss to their deserved victory.