Everton manager David Moyes admitted he did not think he would mark his 400th Premier League match with a victory but was not surprised by side's late turnaround.
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Trailing to Sunderland winger Adam Johnson's first goal for the club on the stroke of half-time the Toffees struck twice in quick succession through Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic to clinch three points with 11 minutes to go.
It was Everton's first win in five matches, keeping them in the top four, and ensured Moyes could end a landmark game with a smile.
"I thought it was going to be one of those days. It didn't look as if it was coming," said the Scot.
"I thought it looked like a 1-0 to Sunderland - but that was not for us not trying to keep knocking at the door.
"In the end I think we got what we deserved because we kept at it.
"I thought we played quite well in the first half but found ourselves a goal down and a bit fortunate not to be two down.
"If that had been the case you would have to have said that was unjust.
"We didn't deserve that with our possession, we just hadn't created any clear-cut chances from our good play.
"We needed something because Sunderland had the third-best defensive record in the Premier League and they had showed that resilience and made it hard for us to score.
"I thought we kept going and the players showed great character to come from a goal behind.
"Maybe the amount of pressure we had told a little bit."
Sunderland were eventually unpicked by the vision of Leon Osman and Fellaini.
Osman, who received his first England call-up at the age of 31 this week, twice linked up with Fellaini, who turned and shot for the first before playing a cheeky backheel through the legs of John O'Shea for Jelavic to score.
Asked whether Osman warranted a start against Sweden on Wednesday Moyes said: "Roy Hodgson picks that team.
"It is hard enough picking this Everton team without picking Roy's team."
The one downside to the afternoon was an injury to Kevin Mirallas, probably Everton's best player in the first half hour, which forced the Belgium international off.
"It looks like he has a bit of a hamstring injury and it was a miss because we were a bit stodgy after that, we didn't flow as nicely as we had done," added the Toffees boss.
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill, who thought his side would end their 11-year win-less run against Everton, was frustrated with the result.
"We should have been out of sight at half-time. Instead of being one up we should have been three up," he said
"Having said that, the players played brilliantly away from home against a side who have a great chance of being in the Champions League.
"It was a great performance by the players. To be fair I thought we were exhilarating in the first half.
"We knew we would be under pressure in the second half but I always thought on the break we looked dangerous.
"The second goal epitomised a bit of luck and a bit of misfortune.
"We are obviously very disappointed."