Sunderland looked devoid of ideas and inspiration on a ground where they have not won since 1996 and they never seemed likely to get their first victory since beating
Blackpool 2-1 away in January.
They should have gone ahead inside the first five minutes as the Everton defence went walkabout and Richardson had the freedom of their penalty box, only for the midfielder to take his shot early and drag it hopelessly off target.
He and Beckford, who were only starting a Premier League game together for the secend time, were causing havoc.
Sunderland nearly struck against the run of play when £6m January signing Sessegnon fizzed a right-foot shot goalwards from 20 yards, Tim Howard producing a wonderful fingertip save to divert the ball on to the crossbar.
But Everton wasted no time in capitalising on their keeper's brilliance to double the lead.
It was created by the majestic Arteta at his best. The Spaniard superbly turned away from one defender, hared past John Mensah and crossed for Beckford, who scuffed his shot a touch, to make it 2-0.
Suddenly David Moyes' men were threatening to run riot as Saha had one shot blocked and fired another wide as Sunderland failed to close him down.
Sunderland not competitive enough - Bruce
Beckford had a golden chance to complete a maiden Premier League hat-trick moments after the restart, but the former Leeds United player, who struck his last treble in
a League One game against Yeovil in March 2009,
blazed over after more fine work from Osman.
Some of Everton's free-flowing football was a delight to behold and they should have given the scoreline a more emphatic look, Osman volleying wide and Simon Mignolet saving expertly twice from Seamus Coleman and once from Saha.
Everton substitute Diniyar Bilyaletdinov crashed wide after a breathtaking exchange of passes and as the clock ticked down Osman had another shot headed off the line after he had gone round Mignolet.
But by then, the hosts had already done more than enough to ensure they would move back into the top 10 and climb to within four points of Sunderland in eighth place with a game in hand.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce: "We were nowhere near resilient or competitive enough in the first half. The two goals, Everton didn't have to do much to score against us and that's the one thing we've prided ourselves on all year, being difficult to beat, but we're nowhere near where we were a month ago.
"People aren't playing anything like they were six weeks ago. We haven't had the luxury of competition. We have got five or six missing and we've missed them recently.
"But we have to dust ourselves down and get on with it.
"I was pleased with us going forward, we looked like we carried a threat, but if you give away careless goals at this level you are always going to struggle.
"We knew at the start of the season that February and March would be difficult. But we've got to remain positive we can turn it around.
"Every week is a test, it doesn't matter who you play. But it's up to me and my staff to work on things this week and make it better.
"I'm happy at the club and committed to them, my aim is to establish Sunderland and we need to keep on improving."
90:00+4:25 The referee signals the end of the game.
90:00+4:01 Ryan Noble takes a shot. Phil Jagielka gets a block in.
90:00+3:36 Kieran Richardson takes a shot. Leighton Baines gets a block in.
90:00+2:36 Leon Osman takes a shot. Ahmed Elmohamady manages to make a clearance.
90:00+0:05 Unfair challenge on John Mensah by Leon Osman results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
88:46 Ryan Noble takes a shot. Save by Tim Howard.
88:21 Stephane Sessegnon takes a shot. Tim Howard makes a comfortable save.
88:06 Leon Osman takes a shot. Save made by Simon Mignolet.
86:38 Leighton Baines fouled by Stephane Sessegnon, the ref awards a free kick. Tim Howard takes the direct free kick.
85:51 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has an effort at goal from the edge of the box that misses to the right of the target.
84:34 Asamoah Gyan takes a shot. Leighton Baines gets a block in. Effort on goal by Stephane Sessegnon from inside the area goes
harmlessly over the bar.
82:58 Asamoah Gyan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta. Phil Neville takes the free kick.
82:04 Substitution Diniyar Bilyaletdinov comes on in place of Louis Saha.
80:05 Steed Malbranque handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Phil Jagielka takes the direct free kick.
79:26 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Kieran Richardson, clearance by Sylvain Distin.
77:33 Seamus Coleman takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet. Corner taken right-footed by Mikel Arteta to the near post, Headed effort
from deep inside the area by Tim Cahill misses to the right of the goal.
76:48 Substitution Sulley Muntari goes off and Steed Malbranque comes on.
74:58 Unfair challenge on Titus Bramble by Tim Cahill results in a free kick. Simon Mignolet takes the direct free kick.
73:47 Leon Osman produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.
72:52 John Mensah fouled by Leighton Baines, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
72:13 Substitution Tim Cahill replaces Jermaine Beckford.
70:48 Headed from the edge of the area by Asamoah Gyan goes wide of the left-hand upright.
68:46 Sulley Muntari takes a shot from a long way out which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
67:41 Foul by Sulley Muntari on Louis Saha, free kick awarded. Sylvain Distin takes the direct free kick.
66:38 Substitution Anton Ferdinand goes off and Ryan Noble comes on.
63:31 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Louis Saha by Phillip Bardsley. Mikel Arteta shoots direct from the free kick,
Titus Bramble gets a block in.
62:20 Leighton Baines takes the outswinging corner, Simon Mignolet makes a save.
60:46 Louis Saha takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet. Seamus Coleman takes a shot. Simon Mignolet makes a save. Short corner taken
by Phil Neville from the right by-line.
58:22 Free kick awarded for a foul by Kieran Richardson on Phil Neville. Direct free kick taken by Tim Howard.
51:11 Jermaine Beckford is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Simon Mignolet restarts play with the free kick.
48:56 Foul by Jermaine Beckford on John Mensah, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Anton Ferdinand.
48:25 Effort from deep inside the area by Leon Osman misses to the right of the target.
46:02 Jermaine Beckford takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.
45:01 The second half kicks off.
45:00+2:41 It is the end of the first-half.
43:22 Effort from the edge of the area by Louis Saha goes wide of the right-hand upright.
43:04 Asamoah Gyan produces a curled right-footed shot from 20 yards. Save by Tim Howard.
42:11 Kieran Richardson fouled by Phil Neville, the ref awards a free kick. Simon Mignolet restarts play with the free kick.
41:17 Kieran Richardson is caught offside. Tim Howard takes the free kick.
41:17 Substitution Jack Rodwell on for Marouane Fellaini.
38:25 Assist by Mikel Arteta.
38:25 GOAL - Jermaine Beckford:Everton 2 - 0 Sunderland Goal scored by Jermaine Beckford from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Everton 2-0 Sunderland.
Correction - 30:26 Free kick awarded for a foul by Phil Jagielka on Kieran Richardson. Asamoah Gyan takes the direct free kick. Phillip Bardsley
takes a shot. Blocked by Leon Osman.
30:26 Phil Jagielka concedes a free kick for a foul on Kieran Richardson. Asamoah Gyan takes the free kick. Phillip Bardsley takes
a shot. Leon Osman gets a block in.
29:27 Leon Osman has an effort at goal from outside the area which misses left.
28:45 Unfair challenge on John Mensah by Jermaine Beckford results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
26:54 Stephane Sessegnon takes a shot. Save made by Tim Howard. Tim Howard fouled by Kieran Richardson, the ref awards a free kick.
Tim Howard takes the free kick.
24:30 John Mensah gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Louis Saha. Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.
23:58 The referee blows for offside against Jordan Henderson. Free kick taken by Sylvain Distin.
20:04 The referee blows for offside. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
18:53 The referee gives a free kick against Leighton Baines for handball. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
16:36 Jermaine Beckford gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on John Mensah. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
16:01 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta by Sulley Muntari. Sylvain Distin restarts play with the free kick.
14:27 Louis Saha gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Titus Bramble. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
13:41 Leon Osman takes a shot. John Mensah gets a block in.
12:44 Mikel Arteta challenges Stephane Sessegnon unfairly and gives away a free kick. Sulley Muntari takes the direct free kick.
11:10 Foul by Mikel Arteta on Sulley Muntari, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Titus Bramble.
9:35 The assistant referee signals for offside against Asamoah Gyan. Tim Howard takes the indirect free kick.
9:17 Seamus Coleman takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet.
7:39 Leon Osman provided the assist for the goal.
7:39 GOAL - Jermaine Beckford:Everton 1 - 0 Sunderland Jermaine Beckford grabs a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Everton 1-0 Sunderland.
6:08 Short corner taken by Mikel Arteta from the right by-line.
4:58 Effort from the edge of the area by Kieran Richardson goes wide of the right-hand post.
3:17 The offside flag is raised against Asamoah Gyan. Free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.
0:00 The referee starts the match.
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