Alex Iwobi's strike was not enough as Everton were consigned to a 2-1 defeat against Wolves on a frustrating evening at Molineux.
The hosts' pressure in the first half was relentless and goals from Max Kilman and Raúl Jiménez earned Bruno Lage's side a two-goal advantage heading into the interval.
Iwobi's previous two Premier League strikes for the Club had come against Wolves – and he notched another midway through the second half to halve the deficit.
Anthony Gordon was denied by an excellent save from goalkeeper José Sa late on, as the Blues missed out on the chance to climb up to sixth in the Premier League table.
Everton may have enjoyed a league double over Wolves last season, but this was a side in red-hot form heading into this Monday night clash.
Having lost their opening three games of the 2021/22 campaign, new manager Lage had guided his charges to three wins and a draw in their past four games.
Rafa Benitez made four changes to his line-up following a home defeat to Watford last weekend, with Richarlison, Alex Iwobi and Mason Holgate recalled, while midfielder Jean-Phillipe Gbamin was handed a first league start for 208 days.
There was a period of reflection ahead of kick-off, with both teams paying their respects ahead of Remembrance Day later in the month.
The Toffees and their hosts also wore black armbands as a mark of respect to Walter Smith OBE, a tremendously popular figure following his four-year spell as manager at Goodison Park who passed away, aged 73, last week.
Wolves started brightly and Jordan Pickford was forced into making a pair of excellent saves inside the opening quarter of an hour.
First, from the opening corner of the match, João Moutinho's delivery was headed away by Michael Keane - but only as far as long-range specialist Rúben Neves on the corner of the penalty area.
The Portuguese midfielder's sweet strike was kept out by Pickford at full stretch and the keeper reacted quickly to deny Conor Coady on the rebound.
England's number one was called into action again four minutes later when Francisco Trincao instantly controlled Moutinho's pass on the edge of the penalty area before unleashing a curling left-footed strike that was bound for the top corner.
Pickford to the rescue again - but Wolves kept their foot on the throttle.
On their very next attack, Jimenez was afforded too much space and picked out Hwang Hee-Chan, who miscued his initial strike but prodded home off the inside off the post at the second attempt.
Fortunately for the Blues, on review, VAR Chris Kavanagh ruled out the South Korea international's effort for offside.
Manager Benitez made clear his side's plan from the pre-match interview – to be compact and to strike their opponents on the counter-attack.
The first sign of that plan coming to life came down the left flank when a neat one-two between Iwobi and Richarlison saw the latter's cross struck over the crossbar by Demarai Gray.
Undeterred by that warning, Wolves came again and opened the scoring from a corner on 29 minutes.
This time, it was Rayan Aït-Nouri's out-swinging delivery from the left and defender Kilman who rose highest amongst a sea of bodies to head home into the bottom corner.
Three minutes later, Everton were trailing by two, when Ben Godfrey – deputising at left-back in place of the injured Lucas Digne – under-hit his pass back to Pickford.
Jimenez demonstrated his predatory instinct to pounce on the loose ball before calmly chipping over the onrushing goalkeeper.
While conceding the lion's share of possession to that point, Everton ended the half with two big chances of their own.
First, in a similar defensive mistake at the other end, Romain Saiss' wild attempt at a clearance saw an opening for Demarai Gray.
The summer recruit, however, could only pull his shot wide of José Sa's right post under pressure.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, came Everton's best chance of the opening period - but Mason Holgate failed to divert his effort on target from close range after Townsend's free-kick had been flicked on by Iwobi.
Seemingly revitalised by a half-time team talk from manager Benitez, Everton came out strongly in the second half and demonstrated a sense of purpose that was, at times, absent in the opening 45 minutes.
Less than two minutes in, the Blues threatened when Coady's attempted clearance from Townsend's inviting cross flashed across the face of goal and out for a corner.
Gray was presented with another half chance moments later and when Townsend found his fellow summer recruit in the left channel, there were shades of Gray's goal against Brighton just over a month ago.
This time, however, the 25-year-old's left-footed shot was well blocked by Coady on the slide.
Everton finally made their pressure pay on 66 minutes and it came via Iwobi.
Godfrey's speculative effort from 25 yards was half-cleared by Coady, but only as far as the Nigeria international, who made no mistake in slotting past Sa.
Benitez's half-time substitution – Fabian Delph – was having a telling impact on proceedings, with the Blues beginning to dominate the midfield battle.
Anthony Gordon, the Spaniard's second replacement of the evening, came within inches of netting an equaliser but his header from Townsend's corner was excellently kept out by Sa.
And despite a late push, Wolves held on to leapfrog Everton in the Premier League standings.