Everton paid the price for not being able to make their possession count and costly mistakes in a 2-0 defeat to West Ham United at London Stadium.
The Blues saw plenty of the ball – finishing the match with 68% possession - and were at times camped in their opponents’ final third in search of a goal – only for two Jarrod Bowen strikes from close range shortly before half-time proving decisive.
Despite trailing at the interval, Frank Lampard’s side kept up the pressure in the second half – with substitutes Dwight McNeil and Tom Davies making an impact – but they couldn’t do enough to test Lukasz Fabianski and force their way back into the contest.
With Ben Godfrey out with a sprained knee sustained seconds into the Southampton contest seven days earlier, Yerry Mina was named in central defence alongside Conor Coady and James Tarkowski as the only change to Lampard’s starting XI.
After a quiet opening, the Blues showed their attacking intent for the first time with nine minutes on the clock as Alex Iwobi and Seamus Coleman linked up after working the ball out to the right. The skipper looked to put his teammate clear inside the area with a clever chipped pass only for Iwobi to be penalised for a handball as he controlled the ball.
Everton controlled the early stages with smart use of the ball and the duo combined again for the next chance of 16 minutes as Coleman squared to Iwobi and went on the overlap before the midfielder dinked a cross into the area. Angelo Ogbonna managed to clear with his shoulder and Mina snapped a half-volley rebound over the bar.
The Blues were doing admirably to keep the home fans quiet, dominating possession without being able to carve out clear-cut chances. West Ham were the next to threaten, however, as Michail Antonio passed across the area for Said Benrahma to take a touch and smash a high effort that Jordan Pickford palmed over the bar.
The home side edged ahead just past the half-hour mark. Emerson swung in a cross from the left, former on-loan Toffees defender Kurt Zouma flicked on and an unmarked Bowen finished from a yard out. There was a glimmer of hope that the England international was offside but, after a VAR check, the goal was awarded.
And it was 2-0 four minutes before the interval as Antonio beat Tarkowski on the right touchline, moved infield and squared across goal for Bowen to net from close range for a second time.
Facing an uphill battle, Everton so nearly halved the deficit ahead of half-time when Mykolenko’s cross from 25 yards out fell to Iwobi whose goalbound strike was deflected behind by Declan Rice.
Lampard made two changes for the start of the second half – Davies and McNeil on for Coleman and Mykolenko – and the substitutes nearly made a key impact seconds after their introductions.
McNeil, playing left wing-back, looped in a teasing cross that was inches away from being tucked home by Calvert-Lewin and, as Davies collected the rebound on the byline, he picked out Gana 15 yards out only for the midfielder’s first touch to let him down and prevent a finish.
To their credit, Everton were refusing to give in and another testing delivery – this time from Iwobi on the right – was agonisingly close to the outstretched boot of Calvert-Lewin. Seconds later, Gana spun on the edge of the area and watched his shot deflect wide.
In a similar pattern to the first half, the Blues were having all of the ball but it was West Ham who created the genuine chances, a quick counter ending with Emerson breaking into the box and having his fierce shot tipped onto the crossbar by Pickford.
With Everton committing players forward, Rice then should have put the game out of sight as he drilled a finish across goal from the left side of the area but beyond the far post.
It couldn’t offer the Blues a lifeline, though, as the encounter ebbed to a finish to send Everton into a two-week break from action still in the Premier League’s bottom three.