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Everton 0-1 Stoke: Instant Reaction

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The Toffees are in trouble after a Boxing Day nightmare

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Lets face it, as we gorged ourselves on turkey and mince pie on Christmas day we all secretly feared Everton would ruin the mood 24 hours later, but even the most sadastic amongst you surely wouldn't have imagined what just played out at Goodison Park.

Lets take the result first, it was yet another loss against an average Stoke team and the seventh of an increasingly troubled season.

There was a lack of imagination, incision, quality and confidence. Stoke were solid but they didn't have to be that impressive to come away with the points.

A game against Stoke wouldn't be the same without a few injuries and the opening moments duly resembled a battlefield, with John StonesRoss BarkleyPhil JagielkaRyan Shawcross and Marko Arnautovic all receiving treatment at some stage.

Things weren't helped by an indifferent refereeing performance either. Lee Mason bottled it when not showing Jonathan Walters the red card. He was clearly the last man when hauling down Baines but Mason chose to give him the benefit of the doubt.

it is a pity therefore that Mason didn't give James McCarthy the benefit of the doubt at the other end, the midfielder tangling legs with Bojan before both players went to ground.

Referee Mason pointed to the spot and Bojan converted the penalty, capping a nightmare sixty seconds for the Toffees.

Naismith and Mirallas both spurned chances to equalise during 10 minutes of stoppage time, but the writing was on the wall even at that early stage.

Captain Phil Jagielka and goalkeeper Tim Howard both picked up injuries and were replaced at half time. With the Newcastle game only 48 hours away it seems unlikely that either will play in the north-east.

John Stones also looked to be struggling with an ankle injury throughout the second half before resident caveman Charlie Adam raked his studs down the back of Kevin Mirallas' achilles, leaving him writhing in pain.

Whatever could go wrong did go wrong, but this has happened too many times this season for it to be considered a one-off.

Everton are in serious trouble and at the midway stage of the season they need to start looking down rather than up - they are just six points from the bottom three after this latest defeat.

It is difficult to know where to go from here and with such little time to go until the trip to St James' Park, we can only hope the players can find some inspiration from somewhere.

Unfortunately on this latest showing that seems desperately unlikely.