Chris Sutton opened his Aston Villa goal account to give Martin O'Neill's side their first Premiership away win this season at Everton.
Chris Sutton celebrates his goal for Aston Villa at Everton
He glanced home Isaiah Osbourne's cross three minutes before half-time.
Everton endured a miserable afternoon, with midfielder Tim Cahill stretchered off early on after an accidental clash with team-mate Lee Carsley.
Andrew Johnson and Carsley missed easy chances, but Everton keeper Tim Howard twice saved from Stilian Petrov.
It was the perfect tonic for Villa after their Carling Cup thrashing at Chelsea, but Everton's early-season optimism is swiftly evaporating.
Villa were without injured duo Gareth Barry and Martin Laursen, while Everton had Johnson alone up front with James McFadden suspended.
Johnson wasted an opportunity to give Everton the breakthrough after 13 minutes when he escaped the attentions of the Villa defence, but he hesitated rather than pass to the unmarked Simon Davies and the chance was lost.
Everton suffered a serious blow six minutes later when influential midfield man Cahill was stretchered off after he was accidentally caught by team-mate Carsley in a tackle.
He was replaced by James Beattie, but Everton's problems increased when Villa took the lead three minutes before half-time.
Gabriel Agbonlahor found Osbourne, and his cross was headed beyond Everton keeper Howard by Sutton's deft touch.
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Johnson then somehow missed from point-blank range in first-half injury time as Everton searched desperately for a spark of inspiration.
Petrov then almost doubled Villa's lead in the closing seconds of the half, but Howard saved well diving to his right.
Carsley was guilty of a miss every bit as bad as Johnson's after 48 minutes, slicing hopelessly wide with only Thomas Sorensen to beat.
Everton pressed, but without any real quality, and it was Villa who almost doubled their lead after 71 minutes when Howard again saved well from Gavin McCann's crisp 30-yard effort.
Beattie had endured a miserable afternoon, but he almost levelled for Everton seconds later when his volley was fumbled by Sorensen but flew wide.
Villa were actually creating the clearer chances despite Everton's territorial domination, and Howard came to the rescue again with a fine block from Petrov.
Everton manager David Moyes:
"We looked pretty flat from the start and never really got going. There are no excuses.
"No-one could say they were better than us, but they got the goal and we missed our chances.
"We've not scored in our last three matches, which is a bit worrying because we think we are making lots of chances."
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill:
"Chris Sutton is a quality player and always has been.
"He proved it when Blackburn won the title. It didn't happen for him at Chelsea, but I picked him up on the rebound and he was fantastic for me at Celtic, proving himself every single week.
"Sutton was a revelation for us in the Champions League and when we reached the Uefa Cup final
"I thought if he was fit he could be an asset to us. He is a really astute centre forward and he can only get better."
Everton: Howard, Neville, Yobo, Stubbs, Lescott, Osman (Anichebe 68), Carsley, Davies, Arteta, Cahill (Beattie 22), Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Turner, Weir, Hughes.
Booked: Stubbs, Carsley.
Aston Villa: Sorensen, Mellberg, Cahill, Ridgewell, Bouma, Agbonlahor, McCann, Osbourne, Petrov, Angel (Agathe 76), Sutton (Davis 90).
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Baros, Berger.
Booked: McCann, Angel, Mellberg. Goals: Sutton 42.
Ref: P Dowd (Staffordshire).