Everton’s interest in the Premier League International Cup is over for this season after a 4-0 defeat against Swansea City at USM Finch Farm.
The Blues needed to win by three goals to progress from the group stage but made the worst possible start, conceding three goals inside the first quarter of the game - all to Liam Cullen.
The Swansea striker fired in a neatly-placed shot from the edge of the box after three minutes and then swept home an excellent second shortly after when he was left totally unmarked from a well-worked free-kick.
His third goal came on 21 minutes when he powered forward before finishing smartly past Joao Virginia.
Cullen would go on to grab his fourth on the hour mark and leave Everton - looking to build on Friday's 2-2 draw with Premier League 2 leaders Chelsea - with no way back.
“The manner of the goals was poor and it epitomises our season really,” said Blues boss David Unsworth. “We worked so hard against Chelsea and did well against a good team, but we undid it all in 20 minutes tonight. It’s been like that all season – one step forward and one step back.
“Swansea were terrific and full credit to them, they were worthy winners. But we’re giving away goals that are not like us.
"We’ve been built on solid foundations over the last four or five years and we’ve been hard to score against but we’re gifting goals through individual errors in some games at the moment.”
Everton just couldn’t get into their rhythm and late efforts from Morgan Feeney - a header that was comfortably saved - and a shot from Manasse Mampala that was high and wide was all they could muster in the opening period.
With the Blues searching for a lifeline, Cullen then ended any faint hopes of a comeback on 59 minutes when he intercepted a back pass from Beni Baningime and rifled an effort low into the net, albeit with the help of a slight deflection.
Ellis Simms was unlucky on 75 minutes when he took a forward pass from Seb Quirk into his path and cracked a sweet first-time shot that flashed inches wide of the target.
Unsworth was without regular key contributors like Lewis Gibson, Antony Evans and Dennis Adeniran against Swansea and he agreed their quality was a big miss on the night.
“It was," he said. "It’s an opportunity for some of the Under-18s to step up but we’ve seen before that it’s a massive leap and some of them are getting their exposure a bit earlier than they should be.
“You never really know what you’re going to get from this set of players just now, and that’s down to forced changes in team selection.
"We’re working them so hard in training but we’re just a little bit inconsistent this season.”
Everton Under-23s return to action when they travel to Manchester City in Premier League 2 on Friday (7pm).