MATCH REPORT | BRENTFORD 1-0 EVERTON

Everton’s misery continued as defeat away at Brentford extends their winless run to seven matches.

Ivan Toney’s 24th minute penalty was the only goal of the game as the Bees bagged the three points against an unimaginative Blues side.

Before the match, Rafael Benitez’s side was buoyed by the return of Abdoulaye Doucoure to the starting line-up, after over a month out with a foot injury.

Demarai Gray was also deemed fit enough to make the bench despite injury forcing him off after 17 minutes at the Etihad Stadium the previous weekend.

In that same match, Richarlison picked up his fifth booking of the season meaning he was unavailable for Everton’s trip to the Brentford Community Stadium and an out-of-form Salomon Rondon was given the nod in place of the Brazilian.

After the negative approach employed on their visit to face the champions the week before, it was reassuring to see the Toffees return to their pressing and counter-attacking style and throughout the match they had more of the ball.

However, they were still ineffective in their chance creation and on 24 minutes a reckless high boot from Andros Townsend was penalised by the referee after a VAR review and Toney converted the resulting penalty to send the Bees in front.

Everton almost hit back immediately as Lucas Digne surged into the box and found Rondon with a cutback, but the Venezuelan’s effort was well saved by ‘keeper Alvaro Fernandez.

It was the closest the Blues came to scoring in the first half before upping their intensity after the break.

A well-crafted move early in the second period eventually fell to Alex Iwobi but his shot was straight into the hands of Fernandez.

Rondon also had two other half-opportunities with a blocked volley and wayward header but in all honesty, the Toffees never looked like finding the net and their trip to West London ended in another defeat.

It was another case of there being no clear plan as the Blues constantly struggled to carve out chances and the successful shutout from Brentford means Everton have now failed to score in their last three matches as they slide down to 14th place.

There was no standout poor individual performance which makes the issue all the more frustrating as it seems clear that it is poor tactics and lack of quality that is hindering the side at the moment.

Anthony Gordon put in another decent display and once he came on, Gray caused the Brentford defence one or two problems.

Rather alarmingly, it was also almost certainly the best performance from Rondon since his arrival in the summer and yet he was still relatively unimpressive.

Doucoure looked very off the pace for the opening half hour but grew into the game and showed glimpses of his full ability despite clearly being far from fully fit.

The chorus of boos that rang from the Everton end at the end of the game when the players went over to applaud the travelling fans made for ugly viewing, but few could that the supporters were not entitled in their frustrations.

The atmosphere at Goodison Park for the Merseyside derby on Wednesday night is going to be an interesting one.

It is not likely to be pretty.

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