Duncan Ferguson could not get his second spell as Everton caretaker manager off to a positive start with the Toffees slipping to a 1-0 home defeat against Aston Villa.
Emiliano Buendia's fine header late in the first half settled the game and despite the hosts pushing Villa hard after the break they could not find an equaliser.
The match got off to an intense start with both sets of players flying into tackles, although chances were at a premium in the opening exchanges.
Ollie Watkins had a pair of decent opportunities well-saved by Jordan Pickford, although the offside flag denied the Everton stopper of the glory for the second.
Just before the break Pickford was beaten with Buendia arriving at the front post to flick Lucas Digne's corner narrowly over the England number-one's grasp. In the aftermath a bottle thrown from the home crowd struck the returning Digne and Matty Cash.
Everton responded well after the break with substitute Anthony Gordon teeing up Richarlison, who could only guide his header over the bar. They went even closer on the hour mark when Ben Godfrey's effort was cleared off the line by Tyrone Mings.
The chances kept on coming in the second period for Everton with Yerry Mina heading over twice and Demarai Gray lacking the composure to convert from the edge of the box.
The Toffees still had time to spurn a few more openings before full time with Villa seeing out the game professionally to secure an important three points.
Here are your player ratings from the game...
Everton player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Jordan Pickford (GK) - 6/10 - Made a couple of good stops in the first half before falling victim to his short-arm syndrome for Buendia's goal.
Jonjoe Kenny (RB) - 6/10 - Some shaky moments but largely went about his business effectively.
Yerry Mina (CB) - 5/10 - Had two headed chances where he needed to do better.
Mason Holgate (CB) - 5/10 - Not the tidiest in possession but he coped with Watkins pretty well.
Ben Godfrey (LB) - 5/10 - One of several Everton players who missed a good chance in this game. Did not offer much, if anything, going forward.
Andros Townsend (RM) - 5/10 - Tried his best to make things happen and progressed the ball effectively at times. Subbed before the hour mark.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM) - 7/10 - Got through a heck of a lot of work in the middle of the park. Ended the match with a staggering seven tackles.
Andre Gomes (CM) - 4/10 - Game passed him by. Villa's midfielders steamed past him with ease before he was subbed just after half time.
Demarai Gray (LM) - 6/10 - One of Everton's brighter sparks and never shirked his defensive responsibilities.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (ST) - 4/10 - Struggled to hold the ball up like we know he can and his finishing was poor.
Richarlison (ST) - 5/10 - Isolated a lot of the time but did not make the most of his limited opportunities. Worked extremely hard off the ball.
Allan (CM) - 7/10 - Seriously improved his side after coming on. Added calmness and drive in midfield.
Anthony Gordon (LM) - 6/10 - Swung in one great ball.
Tyler Onyango (CM) - 6/10 - Not massively involved but good to see him get more minutes.
Aston Villa player ratings
5. Goalkeeper & defenders
Emiliano Martinez (GK) - 6/10 - Was not overly troubled with Everton lacking a killer instinct in front of goal. Picked up a caution for time wasting. Standard.
Matty Cash (RB) - 7/10 - Heavily involved, defending aggressively and pushing on regularly. Performed well going both ways.
Ezri Konsa (CB) - 7/10 - Imperious. Chose his moments to engage the Villa frontline perfectly.
Tyrone Mings (CB) - 7/10 - Shook off an early knock to have a great game. Made a goal-line clearance in the second half and chipped in with several more vital interventions.
Lucas Digne (LB) - 7/10 - Was not overwrought by the occasion of returning to his former club so soon after his departure. Set up the goal and defended spotlessly.
John McGinn (CM) - 7/10 - Another all-action display from the Scot. Put in five tackles in total and was the only player trying to drive forward after the break.
Douglas Luiz (CM) - 7/10 - Started strong but put under more pressure by Villa after the break. Gave as good as he got, though.
Jacob Ramsey (CM) - 6/10 - Not quite as influential as he has been of late, but he dug in and showed another side of his game.
Emiliano Buendia (RF) - 7/10 - What. A. Header. Coutinho's arrival seems to have really spurred him on to improve as he looks increasingly like the player Villa thought they'd signed in the summer.
Ollie Watkins (ST) - 6/10 - His movement asked questions of the Everton defence. Finishing and decision making could have been better.
Philippe Coutinho (LF) - 5/10 - Could not recreate the magic of his debut. Some bright sparks but a few errors too.
Carney Chukwuemeka (RF) - 5/10 - Kept his shape as best he could.
Danny Ings (ST) - 5/10 - Not involved.
Kortney Hause (CB) - N/A
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