Lewis Gibson's first senior Everton goal could not prevent the Blues from losing to hosts Mainz in their second Opel Cup fixture on Saturday.
The Blues, hitherto unbeaten in pre-season, lost by a single-goal to Sevilla earlier in the day and went down by a two-goal margin here.
Everton are back in Germany for their final tune-up game against Werder Bremen next week before the competitive action starts at Crystal Palace on 10 August.
Gibson’s crisp 40th-minute strike after meeting a Kevin Mirallas corner on the full halved Everton’s deficit after the Toffees had fallen two goals behind.
Erkan Eyibil scored for Mainz with an accurate low finish six minutes after his half-time introduction.
The hosts’ first goal, which arrived somewhat out of the blue, was supplied by Robin Quaison, racing away to take the ball past Jonas Lossl and roll home. And Quaison put a seal on the contest when he rattled home from 18 yards with one minute remaining.
Seamus Coleman’s efforts from the outset utterly belied the fact he was not long off the back of playing from start to finish of Everton’s high-tempo match against Sevilla.
The right-back was such a factor in Everton’s forward play, in fact, that it surprised no one when Coleman struck the game’s first effort on target.
Morgan Schneiderlin started the move; spraying a 30-yarder right for Nathan Broadhead – Schneiderlin pointing towards what would come from him throughout in the form of a succession of nicely hit, expansive passes.
Broadhead, who linked intelligently with Coleman, nodded the ball back for his teammate.
Coleman created some impetus by returning the favour for Broadhead and continuing his run to receive an eventual pass from James McCarthy.
The defender progressed to the 18-yard box and smashed a rising drive which was tipped over by Robin Zentner.
Goalkeeper Zentner had appeared less convincing when groping at thin air as he came for a Lucas Digne corner.
The ball sped through to McCarthy. He cracked his half volley sweetly enough but without being able to keep its trajectory below Zentner’s crossbar.
Digne and Walcott – two more back in action scarcely two hours after facing Sevilla, the same true of Mason Holgate – nearly connected for an opportunity.
Walcott, operating up front, ran through the middle but Digne’s pass was narrowly off beam and scooted through for Zentner.
Schneiederlin, demonstrating his passing range with a short, clipped delivery, did pick out Walcott for a chance to cut in from the right. Walcott accepted the invite but saw his strike fly into substitute Edimilson Fernandes.
Most of the game was taking place in close view of Zentner.
Not all of it, though, and Mainz did flash up more than the odd warning sign over their attacking potential.
The goal which put the hosts in front was nevertheless simple in its execution.
Jean-Paul Boetius lifted a ball over the top for the athletic Quaison. He advanced and rounded goalkeeper Lossl to score.
Teenager Gibson had stemmed a previous attack, the centre-half holding his ground as Jonathan Burkardt dribbled into the box and ultimately outsmarting the teenage forward.
Additionally, Swede Quaison’s goal qualified to be considered as second time lucky. When the striker wriggled free in the area he found Lossl – popular in these parts following a season with Mainz in 2016/17 – equal to his drive.
Everton changed five players at half-time but it was one of Mainz’s new introductions who struck six minutes after the break.
Mainz countered from deep with midfielder Ridle Baku. Quaison received the ball wide on the left and drifted across the fringe of the penalty box before feeding Eyibil.
The 18-year-old swept his low finish tight inside Lossl’s left post – the ‘keeper’s touch not sufficient to nudge the ball off course.
Four minutes later and Everton were back in it.
Gibson met Mirallas’s right-wing corner with a firm swing of the right boot to send the ball flying beyond Zentner.
The strike said a lot about the 19-year-old defender’s excellent technique.
Anthony Gordon was denied by a block from home captain Stefan Bell after Callum Connolly’s knockdown – defender Connolly then heading into Zentner’s gloves from the resultant corner.
Broadhead and Gordon were both enterprising with their running as Everton went after an equaliser.
Gordon nearly embarrassed Bell but slightly overran his touch towards goal, while Broadhead consistently drove at and beyond the Mainz backline.
One such surge won Everton a corner which finished with Schneiderlin hitting over.
Quaison, though exploited the space as Everton committed bodies forward – and completed the scoring with an arrowing right-foot shot which skipped inside Lossl's right post.
Everton: Lossl; Coleman [Connolly, h/t], Holgate [Pennington, h/t], Gibson, Digne [Foulds, h/t]; Schneiderlin [Hornby, 54]; Broadhead, McCarthy [Adeniran, h/t], Davies, Mirallas; Walcott [Gordon, h/t].