A game Everton dominated both in terms of possession and goalbound chances was ultimately decided by Seamus Coleman’s sending off for two bookable offences as the Blues suffered a cruel 1-0 defeat at Burnley.
Marco Silva’s men should have gone into the interval ahead as Alex Iwobi saw two efforts kept out, and the visitors kept up the pressure in the second half with swift counter-attacking football.
Having been booked in the first half for a foul on Dwight McNeil, though, a late challenge on the same Burnley player saw captain Coleman shown a second yellow card on 56 minutes.
And despite Everton remaining a threat with 10 men, Burnley’s winner came 18 minutes from time when Ashley Westwood’s corner was finished at the back post by Jeff Hendrick.
It was another case of what might have been for the Blues who were undoubtedly the better side in the first half.
The game’s first chance came on three minutes when Iwobi – the only change in Everton’s XI’s from the previous weekend’s home loss to Manchester City - collected Lucas Digne’s cleared corner. He swung in a teasing cross from the right which found the head of Yerry Mina – but the Colombian’s effort lacked power and was cleared by James Tarkowski.
Moments later, Dominic Calvert-Lewin was pulled down outside the area and, from the resulting free-kick, Gylfi Sigurdsson swirled a set-piece shot towards the bottom right-hand corner which Nick Pope turned away for a corner.
Burnley mustered their first attack on goal with an ambitious half volley from Erik Pieters that flew over the bar, and the Dutchman turned provider on 11 minutes, whipping a dangerous cross into the box post, ending with Gudmundsson planting a header into the arms of Pickford.
Up at the other end, Everton went agonisingly close to edging ahead. Richarlison cut in from the right and laid a pass into the path of Iwobi. The Nigerian worked space for himself in the area and hit a low drive that took a wicked deflection off Ben Mee and crept the wrong side of the post.
The game hit a lull until the half-hour mark when Burnley knocked on the door with back-to-back chances. A deep corner from Westwood found Hendrick at the back post as his first-time drive was saved by the legs of Pickford.
And when Coleman was robbed of possession down the left flank by McNeil, Chris Wood had his path towards goal blocked by Mina.
With the home fans finding their voice, the Blues showed resolve to claw back the momentum towards the end of the half as the tireless Richarlison’s deflected cross needed to be turned over the bar by Tarkowski with Calvert-Lewin itching to pounce at the back post.
A succession of corners found the head of Mina only for the Clarets to scramble the ball clear of danger.
The best chance of the opening half came on 40 minutes when Coleman broke clear from the right flank into the area and found Sigurdsson, who teed up Iwobi. The summer signing took a touch and applied the finish from six yards out, only for Matthew Lowton to block the goalbound effort at the vital moment.
The Blues ended the first half boasting 62 per cent possession, and with six shots compared to Burnley’s two – but the game remained goalless.
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KEANE OUTLINES WHAT EVERTON PLAYERS MUST DO
Silva’s side resumed in the ascendancy after the interval, too, threatening with 51 minutes on the clock when a sweeping counter attack involving Schnedierlin, Sigurdsson and Iwobi ended with Richarlison rasping a 15-yard shot into the hands of Pope.
The game took a crucial twist moments later, though, when Coleman – already booked in the first half for a foul on McNeil – was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on the same Burnley player.
From the resulting free-kick, the Clarets almost took the lead as Tarkowski nodded into the path of Barnes and the striker smacked a powerful half volley over the crossbar.
Djibril Sidibe was given his Premier League debut, replacing Sigurdsson, to fill the right-back gap. And despite the numerical disadvantage, it was Everton who looked the more threatening, with Iwobi and Richarlison enjoying space down the flanks, only for Burnley to snuff out attempted crosses into the area.
With the Blues believing they could edge ahead, Burnley hit them with a cruel blow on 72 minutes. Sidibe turned the ball out for a corner and as Westwood swung in the set piece to the far post, Hendrick edged ahead to volley a finish into the roof of the net.
To their credit, Everton battled on. Substitute Moise Kean brought instant attacking intent and, having been rewarded for his endeavour, Keane headed Digne’s corner wide from six yards when well placed.
The pressure continued in the dying moments but Burnley’s mean backline made the extra man count as the hosts held on for three points.