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A poor first half costs Everton as they fall 2-1 to Swansea

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Too little, too late. The Toffees surged back in the second half, but it wasn't enough to break down the Swan's defense.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Another poor performance for an overtly talented Everton squad. The team sleep-walked through the first half and by the time they woke up for the second half, Swansea were putting 11 men behind the ball and daring the Toffees to trying and get a ball in their net. They couldn't and, as a result, Everton lost 2-1, falling to 12th in the Premier League.

The first stupid goal of this stupid game came off a stupid pass from stupid John Stones in the 17th stupid minute. The young center back slowly directed the ball back to goalkeeper Tim Howard. But before Howard could get to it, Andre Ayew swooped in, got to the ball and got kicked by the keeper, going down in the box to earn a penalty. Moments later, Gylfi Sigurdsson put it in from the spot. 1-0 Swansea.

In the 26th minute, Everton leveled things off a Jack Cork own goal. Gerard Deulofeu put in a corner to the foot of Gareth Barry, who flicked it towards goal, where Cork nicked it and put it in his own net. Tied 1-1

And the final goal came just a few minutes later. Again it was Ayew. He put a shot on goal and it deflected off a lunging Stones, sending the ball off the turf and then bouncing it over Howard in goal. 2-1 Swansea.

Ok, so now you know how the goals were scored. Let's talk about the rest of that awful, awful first half just a little bit.

Everton played the first 45 minutes as if they were the away side that was in a relegation battle. They allowed Swansea to keep possession and just hoped to get a chance on the counter. Why would a team that has struggled on defense want to play on the back foot?

More bad news: both Mo Besic and Kevin Mirallas went off with what looked like hamstring injuries within the first 30 minutes of the game. That is a big blow, losing two players that were at the peak of their form.

The second half was much more appealing to watch and the home team was unlucky to not score, but the attack then seemed out of sync by then. Deulofeu was the only one on top of his game.

The pacey winger put a ridiculous number of balls into the box, but no one could get on the end of it. Romelu Lukaku was close one time but came up empty, before holding his face in disbelief.

Seamus Coleman returned to the side, coming on for Bryan Oviedo in the second half, and actually injected a good bit of ferocity and an eye for goal. The Irishman had two real opportunities to earn Everton a point, but couldn't get on the scoresheet.

The one chance that will really keep Coleman up tonight turned out to be the last kick of the ball in the game. Leighton Baines put a corner into the box, Stones headed it to the far post, where Coleman was waiting. It was basically an open net in front of him, but he put it over the bar, sealing the loss.

My big takeaways

1. Stones is beginning to show his age. He is a talented, young defender, but he cannot let his cockiness get the best of him. That pass back to Howard was an terrible decision. Center back is not a sexy position; stop trying to make it one. At times, it is best to just cut your losses, put it out of bounds and regroup.

2. I have no idea what a hand ball is anymore. Swansea had three questionable handles of the ball that I can recall. One allowed Ashley Williams to maintain control of the ball just ahead of the Swans second goal. Another denied Everton a penalty shout. And the third would have given the Toffees a free kick in a nice position. That rule needs to be much more black and white, not simply left up to the referee's interpretation.

3. There have to be questions about Roberto Martinez's job security now. This is an extremely talented Everton side. Yes, they do need improvements at goal keeper and winger as well as some depth on the defensive side, but this is not a 12th-place squad.

The games ahead

The team heads to the Etihad on Wednesday in the second leg of the Capital One Cup, in which the Toffees hold a 2-1 advantage over Manchester City. Then they face Carlisle on Sunday in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

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