The new year brought no relief for Everton manager Frank Lampard, as Goodison Park turned toxic after Brighton recorded their biggest away win in the Premier League, 4-1.
Any confidence gained from the weekend’s creditable draw at Manchester City was shattered by a performance devoid of guts and guile, which was met with loud boos.
It was exemplified by a disastrous seven-minute period at the start of the second half in which they gave up three soft goals to 18-year-old Evan Ferguson, Solly March, and Pascal Gross, adding to Kaoru Mitoma’s early first-half strike.
Demarai Gray’s added-time penalty consolation merely prompted yet more chants of ‘Sack the board’.
The Toffees were booed off the field for the second time in two weeks, as a crucial month in which they must at the very least beat fellow strugglers Southampton and West Ham and make some new signings began in the worst possible way.
Everton are on the verge of relegation after one win and seven defeats in their last ten games, putting Lampard under intense pressure just four weeks before his first anniversary at the club.
Brighton, on the other hand, are unconcerned, as Graham Potter’s replacement Roberto De Zerbi has guided them to eighth place in the table, with this a club-record third consecutive away win.
While the return of Moises Caicedo from suspension made a significant difference in midfield, De Zerbi could afford to leave World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister on the bench for an hour.