Everton passed up the chance to secure their Premier League survival on Sunday afternoon, giving up a lead in their 3-2 defeat at home to Brentford as they ended a chaotic match with nine men.
Wading through plumes of blue smoke as a boisterous Goodison Park crowd greeted their side, Everton responded to the support with four shots in the opening six minutes.
Hounding after their sluggish visitors, Anthony Gordon won a tenth-minute free-kick which Richarlison scruffily hooked towards goal. Evading the retreating yellow shirts, the ball brushed Dominic Calvert-Lewin's chest en route to the far corner.
The air was sucked out of Goodison just eight minutes later as referee Michael Oliver sent off Everton's Jarrad Branthwaite. Labouring behind Ivan Toney's chase of an aimless long ball, the stand-in centre-back clumsily brought the Brentford forward down, earning his marching orders as the last line of defence.
Content to cede possession, Everton shifted into a 4-4-1 which Thomas Frank countered by shuffling his pack into an attacking 3-5-2.
Brentford's rejigged front-two combined in the 37th-minute. Latching onto Mathias Jensen's defence-splitting through ball, Toney drilled a low pass across the box which Yoane Wissa turned past Jordan Pickford via a meaty deflection off Seamus Coleman.
The visitors cranked up the pressure but were undone by a simple long kick down the pitch. Mads Bech Sorensen jumped under the ball, needlessly putting his arm across Richarlison to give away a penalty the Brazilian converted himself on the cusp of half-time.
Everton's wingers dropped alongside their full-backs in a painfully passive approach to the second half. Brentford, conversely, lined up with two midfielders in their back-three as they penned the Toffees into their own half, boasting more than 80% possession after the interval.
Within the space of two minutes after an hour, a pair of headers hauled Brentford into the lead. Wissa looped Christian Eriksen's corner into the far corner from the near post moments before Rico Henry thumped the Bees ahead for the first time all game.
Everton's Salomon Rondon was sent off within five minutes of his late substitution for a rash, two-footed tackle. With two games left - and a pair of suspensions to juggle - the Toffees precariously sit two points above the drop.
Everton vs Brentford player ratings
1. Everton (3-4-3)
GK: Jordan Pickford - 6/10 - Unable to react to the unpredictable path of Brentford's equaliser, Pickford made a flurry of stops against opposition shots on target.
CB: Seamus Coleman - 5/10 - Unfortunate to see the ball fly past Pickford off his face.
CB: Jarrad Branthwaite - 1/10 - A late replacement for the unwell Michael Keane, Branthwaite's third Premier League start of the season ended with an early bath as he got a red card with practically his first involvement all game.
CB: Mason Holgate - 6/10 - So eager to close down the opposition, Holgate got swept up in the atmosphere early on before recovering his cool.
RWB: Alex Iwobi - 7/10 - Forced into an orthodox right-back position after Branthwaite's dismissal, covering well.
CM: Andre Gomes - 4/10 - Shuffling the ball tamely from side to side, Gomes was fortunate his inadvertent set-up for Mathias Jensen wasn't punished.
CM: Abdoulaye Doucoure - 5/10 - Didn't see an awful lot of the ball in open play, the midfielder spooned his header at the back post from a corner into the turf and wide.
LWB: Vitaliy Mykolenko - 6/10 - Carried the ball forward well to provide some intermittent relief without shirking his defensive duties.
RW: Anthony Gordon - 5/10 - Had his early attacking flair hampered by Everton's man-disadvantage. Gordon's one lapse in concentration was brutally punished by Henry's header.
ST: Dominic Calvert-Lewin - 7/10 - First to every long ball punted into Brentford's half, Calvert-Lewin also managed to graze in his first goal since August.
LW: Richarlison - 8/10 - Rapidly erased any memory of his open-goal miss in the opening exchanges with a typically busy display dripping with hustle and bustle.
SUB: Demarai Gray (72' for Gordon) - 5/10 - Struggled to get into the game.
SUB: Jonjoe Kenny (72' for Gomes) - 5/10
SUB: Salomon Rondon (84' for Coleman) - 0/10 - Reckless challenge that prematurely ended his match and season.
2. Brentford (4-3-3)
GK: David Raya - 5/10 - Can scarcely be blamed for Everton's goals, denying Gomes from long range with a calming catch.
RB: Kristoffer Ajer - 4/10 - Despite holding a more reserved position, Ajer didn't exactly offer the most reassuring presence as he particularly struggled against Richarlison.
CB: Pontus Jansson - 5/10 - Time and again beaten in the air by Calvert-Lewin.
CB: Mads Bech Sorensen - 2/10 - Sluggish to concede the free-kick which led to Everton's opener, Sorensen never recovered from his shaky start in an error-strewn display capped by the concession of the penalty. Mercifully removed at half-time.
LB: Rico Henry - 7/10 - Pushing forward when the Bees had possession, Henry enjoyed a spirited battle against Gordon - one which he ultimately won with his goal.
CM: Mathias Jensen - 6/10 - Pushing forward from midfield, Jensen was often flustered when he burst into the box but capable of picking an excellent pass from deeper on the pitch.
CM: Christian Norgaard - 6/10 - Not at his sharpest off the ball, but whipped in a superb cross which Henry converted.
CM: Christian Eriksen - 7/10 - Spraying the ball around, Eriksen was given a long leash to roam around Merseyside in search of space, arcing in a steady stream of testing deliveries in open and set play.
RW: Bryan Mbeumo - 6/10 - Holding a wide position, Mbeumo skirted around the fringes of the contest.
ST: Ivan Toney - 6/10 - As ever, Brentford's leading scorer was a physical nuisance but couldn't finish off the sporadic chances that landed his way.
LW: Yoane Wissa - 7/10 - Forced the equaliser with an effort that was more of a cross than a shot but cleverly got his name on the scoresheet with a brilliantly angled header.
SUB: Vitaly Janelt (46' for Sorensen) - 7/10 - Dropping into Brentford's back three, Janelt helped Brentford assume a suffocating monopoly of possession in the second half.
SUB: Josh Dasilva (59' for Ajer) - 6/10
SUB: Mads Roerslev (76' for Wissa) - N/A