Another night of disappointment puts Everton on the brink of an early Europa League exit as 2-1 defeat to Lyon leaves the Toffees bottom of Group E with one point from three matches, six points behind Atalanta in top spot.
The concession of a needless penalty within the first five minutes set the tone for a third successive home game without a win in all competitions as the visitors continued the recent epidemic that has seen opposing teams continually score the opening goal against Everton.
Pressure continues to build on struggling manager Ronald Koeman as a directionless attack and suspect defending once more haunted his team, while another half-time change served as a reminder that tactics and personnel remain a key issue from match to match.
While Ashley Williams went about it in an ill-advised manner, instigating a scene more suited to the wrestling ring than the football pitch, a belated show of determination offered the slightest shred of comfort. If that feels trite, it is a sign of the times.
This fire had fizzled out by the final whistle, but it was pleasing, even if only for a few minutes amid familiar misery, to see the players respond and the crowd appreciating their efforts. Overdue leadership and fighting spirit, channelled in the right way, would be most welcome at present.
Everton continue to look a broken team on almost every level, and while there were some slight positives to cling to, this team look no nearer to winning matches. Where and when the next three points are coming from is a very real and troubling concern with matches against Arsenal and Chelsea up next.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Three points were imperative but did not arrive and, even though there was more energy to the team in parts, as desperation increased the team lost what little shape had been evident earlier in the match.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 8 -- In spite of the patchy and underperforming defence ahead of him, the Everton goalkeeper kept his teammates alive in the contest with a series of important saves throughout the match.
DF Cuco Martina, 4 -- For a masterclass in the pitfalls of forcing players out of position and failing to strengthen in the transfer market, look no further than this exhibition showing a right-back hopelessly lost in the left-back position.
DF Michael Keane, 4 -- Surprisingly weak in the air and on the ground and culpable for the second Lyon goal, this was possibly the worst performance of his fledgling Everton career.
DF Ashley Williams, 7 -- Some welcome aggression and leadership shown amid other unflattering moments. Scored a fine header and proved a forceful presence in defence.
DF Mason Holgate, 4 -- A rough night for the young defender began with the unnecessary challenge for the penalty and barely improved thereafter as distribution and positional awareness fell short.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, 6 -- Injured making a sliding block in the penalty area, the midfielder departed after making some timely interceptions and at least attempting to recycle possession with a degree of purpose.
MF Nikola Vlasic, 6 -- Better out wide in the first half than when moved infield for the second. There were moments of promise but just 18 attempted passes and no chances created capped a performance that lacked a telling contribution.
MF Davy Klaassen, 4 -- One brief sight of goal before a miserable evening ended at half-time. A handful of early mistakes saw confidence quickly drain with the game mostly going on around him.
MF Tom Davies, 7 -- Dispossessed on a few occasions as his relative inexperience occasionally showed, but his willingness to continually seek out possession and try to fashion openings is especially welcome in this team.
MF Kevin Mirallas, 6 -- Dragged an effort wide of the post in a first half as a rare start began in promising fashion. One of the better performers in the early stages but faded after the interval.
FW Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 5 -- Always a willing worker and kept the away defence honest in the air, forcing a good save from a well-directed header, but the two Lyon centre-backs mostly kept the young forward in check as service into him dwindled.
MF Ademola Lookman, 6 -- Threatened at times, firing an effort on goal within minutes of his introduction, but the youngster was another that did not see enough of the ball to hurt the visitors.
MF Gylfi Sigurdsson, 7 -- Set up Williams with one accurate free kick and hit the post with another as excellent set piece delivery increased attacking options.
MF Sandro Ramirez, 5 -- Zero understanding with Martina on the left as the two conspired to gift Lyon the ball for their second goal.