Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini dumped Sunderland deep into relegation trouble with a 2-0 defeat as Everton eased themselves into fifth place in the Barclays Premier League.
Pienaar fired the visitors in front three minutes after the restart and then set up Fellaini to clinch victory 19 minutes from time with the Black Cats succumbing with barely a whimper.
Danny Collins might have levelled with a 50th-minute header, but could only direct the ball straight at goalkeeper Tim Howard, who otherwise had little to do at the Stadium of Light.
Having earlier seen the Magpies lose 3-0 at Liverpool to leave themselves with just three games in which to preserve their top-flight status, the Black Cats ran out knowing victory would virtually guarantee their own safety.
It was a surprise that the opening 45 minutes unfolded at a relatively pedestrian pace with the home side struggling to impose themselves and the visitors unable to make the most of the promising positions they created.
The home crowd left their side in little doubt that much more was required as they returned to the field after the break, but their frustration increased markedly within three minutes.
Jo collected Phil Neville's pass with his back to goal and span Anton Ferdinand before sliding the ball into the path of Pienaar, who stabbed it past Marton Fulop from close range.
Collins had the chance to drag his side back into it when he met Grant Leadbitter's corner with a firm header, but he directed it straight at Howard.
And the second came when Pienaar found space on the right and squared for the Fellaini, who fired past Fulop first-time.
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