Everton got 2019 underway in fairly meek fashion, winning two and losing the other four of their six January matches.
The Blues, who also suffered an embarrassing FA Cup exit at Championship strugglers Millwall last month, found the net eight times in January, but too often their proclivity for conceding sloppy goals reared its ugly head.
Here’s the strikes which ranked as the best of the bunch in a disappointing start to the new year:
Ademola Lookman v Lincoln City - A trademark Leighton Baines cross was aimed perfectly into Lookman’s path, before the diminutive winger leapt to head a looping ball past Imps goalkeeper Josh Vickers.
It is the sort of end product that the 21-year-old, for all of his obvious potential, must start delivering more consistently to consolidate his place in manager Marco Silva’s starting XI.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin v Bournemouth - another show of Lookman’s quality. Seemingly cornered by Cherries full-back Adam Smith, the wide man somehow found Dominic Calvert-Lewin, before creating acres of space in which to run with the ball himself.
A perfectly-weighted pass to Calvert-Lewin, another of the Toffees’ brightest young starlets, whose composed injury-time finish sealed a victory Everton desperately needed.
Runner-up: Richarlison v Huddersfield Town
The only goal of Tuesday night’s game, and a fine strike to secure only Everton’s third away league win of the campaign.
Tom Davies’ driving run from midfield was spotted by Bernard, whose penetrative ball to the 20-year-old allowed Davies to set up Richarlison, who scored at the second attempt to put the Toffees ahead after just three minutes.
Despite a difficult campaign personally, it embodied much of the qualities Davies brings to the table. Like Lookman, if Davies shows more consistency, his critics should soon be silenced.
Winner: Bernard v Lincoln City
A beautiful first Everton goal from the Brazilian, who rounded off a move of more than 10 passes by lobbing the helpless Vickers.
Played round the corner by Calvert-Lewin, Bernard applied the finish with more composure than you may expect from a winger previously goalless this term.
He doubled Everton’s lead just two minutes after Lookman had established it, and proved to be the winning goal of a tense FA Cup third round tie for the Blues.
No doubt André Gomes’ thumping long-range strike in yesterday’s defeat to Wolverhampton will be a contender for February’s accolade, but with three games left this month, Evertonians would surely take a plethora of scrappy strikes for more priceless victories.