Everton’s four-game winning streak in the Premier League came to an end as David Moyes’ West Ham edged a dismal game at Goodison Park.
Tomas Soucek netted an 86th-minute winner for the visitors, tapping in after Aaron Cresswell’s speculative effort was saved by Jordan Pickford before deflecting off Yerry Mina and into the Czech’s path.
Everton were poor and mustered a meagre two shots on target, as they lost a fifth successive New Year’s Day game.
Carlo Ancelotti shuffled his pack slightly, resting Michael Keane for the first time this season by reintroducing Seamus Coleman at right-back and shifting Mason Holgate into Keane’s place at centre-half.
Bernard was also given the nod on the wing ahead of Anthony Gordon, but other than contributing one of Everton’s shots on target with a long-range strike, offered little.
Not even the second half introductions of Andre Gomes, the returning James Rodriguez or even Cenk Tosun - all prior to Soucek’s opener - could spark Everton into life; indeed, you could barely tell they had had six days’ rest while West Ham were playing their fourth game in 11 days.
The result means Everton will drop out of the top four this weekend should any of Aston Villa, Tottenham, Southampton, Chelsea or Manchester City win (the latter two meet at Stamford Bridge on Sunday).
With no fans at Goodison Park for the first time since November 28 - Everton’s last home defeat, to Leeds - the lack of drive among the players showed, unable to be spurred on by 2,000 bellowing Blues.
After this tame result and performance, a longer break between games may come at a good time for Ancelotti and Everton. It’s eight days until they next take to the field in their FA Cup home clash with Rotherham, before a Premier League trip to Wolves on January 12.
Certainly, Calvert-Lewin looks in dire need of a break, while Rodriguez can work his way back up to full fitness. Richarlison, too, was anonymous here - though whether that is through lack of energy on his part is more of a debate.
Either way, a limp start to a year which should promise so much for Everton, and perhaps another reminder of the mountain Ancelotti and his side have yet to scale.