The South African finished off a sweeping move just 10 seconds after the restart following his introduction in the 57th minute, providing Roberto Martinez with the kind of instant return every manager dreams of.
Martinez’s side eventually got the better of Hull in the second half, showing their quality after an even opening period. Kevin Mirallas opened the scoring on eight minutes with a low 25-yard shot that wrong-footed goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
For their part, Hull closed down gamely and posed a constant threat from set pieces, with Abdoulaye Faye particularly menacing. But when the equaliser came it was from a throw down the right. Sone Aluko, who had just come back on after injury, danced to the right byline and with his cutback found Yannick Sagbo who placed the ball into the roof of the net for his first Hull goal.
Ross Barkley and Mirallas helped to set up super-sub Pienaar just before the hour, and the margin of victory would have been greater but for an awful miss by substitute Arouna Kone, who smacked his shot against the post with the goal gaping.
8’ – GOAL: Everton 1-0 Hull City: After Hull clear a corner, Kevin Mirallas fires in a low shot that leaves McGregor standing. A question mark stands over whether the offside Gareth Barry unsighted McGregor.
16’ – INJURY: Danny Graham goes off injured after an innocuous-looking challenge and is taken to hospital for an X-ray.
24’ – CHANCE: As Hull cause havoc from set pieces, Aluko diverts Abdoulaye Faye’s header from a corner, but the ball bounces up and over the bar from close range,
28’ – CONTROVERSY: Gareth Barry is lucky to stay on after flying into a tackle over the top of the ball and digging his studs into Aluko’s leg.
30’ – GOAL: Everton 1-1 Hull City: The visitors are level after Aluko jinks to the right byline, pulls the ball back and first-half sub Sagbo sidefoots into the roof of the net.
57 – GOAL: Everton 2-1 – Hull City: That’s how Roberto Martinez drew it up. Steven Pienaar comes off the bench, trots upfield and scores with his first touch, finishing a sweeping attack.
76 – Terrible miss by Kone: On for Lukaku, he squanders a chance to stake a first-team claim by hitting the woodwork from just a few yards.
Everton have lost just one of 20 Premier League matches in which Steven Pienaar has scored (15 wins, four draws) – the 2-1 home defeat v Chelsea, December 30 2012.
Everton have won all four Premier League matches at Goodison Park in which Mirallas has scored.
Everton are now unbeaten in their last six PL home matches against promoted teams, since a 1-0 defeat by Queens Park Rangers in August 2011.
TALKING POINT: Can David Moyes’s old club finish above David Moyes’s new club? Everton are now four points clear of Manchester United, and while there’s a long way to go, Martinez has his players performing with the sort of coherence United can only dream about.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kevin Mirallas (Everton): Just about edged out Ross Barkley, contributing a goal and an assist from the right wing. Hull never had an answer to his incisive running.
Everton: Howard 6, Coleman 6, Baines 7, Jagielka 6, Distin 7, Mirallas 8, Osman 6, McCarthy 7, Barry 6, Barkley 8, Lukaku 7. Subs: Kone 5, Naismith N/A, Pienaar 7
Hull City: McGregor 7, Rosenior 6, Figueroa 6, Davies 7, Faye 7, Elmohamady 6, Brady 5, Huddlestone 6, Livermore 6, Graham 5, Aluko 7. Subs: Quinn 5, Boyd 6, Sagbo 7.
MATCH IN A TWEET