Everton failed to score for the first time this season as they were held to a goalless Barclays Premier League draw by Swansea City on Saturday.
Roberto Martinez's men had managed to find the net in every league fixture this term before this weekend, but endured a frustrating 90 minutes against the Spaniard's former club at Goodison Park.
Everton saw clear-cut goalscoring opportunities limited in the first half, despite dominating possession, while Swansea, who picked up their first-ever win over Everton in the League Cup earlier this season, looked brighter after the break only to be dealt a blow when Jonjo Shelvey was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence with 18 minutes to go.
However, Garry Monk's men held firm to cling on to a hard-earned point that sees them remain sixth, while Everton stay ninth.
Swansea returned to a more familiar starting XI following their League Cup elimination at the hands of Liverpool on Tuesday, while Martinez could only include Romelu Lukaku among his substitutes after the Belgian injured a toe in last weekend's victory over Burnley.
Samuel Eto'o led the Everton line after netting a brace in that 3-1 win at Turf Moor, and could have put the home side in front with a half-volley inside the opening minute, Lukasz Fabianski making the save.
Everton had the better of the early chances and Leighton Baines curled a free-kick just wide of the target from 20 yards after Eto'o had been felled by Ki Sung-yueng.
Antolin Alcaraz had to be replaced by Muhamed Besic after coming off worse in a collision with Wilfried Bony - Gareth Barry switching to a central defensive role as a result - but it was Everton who ended the half in the ascendancy.
Barry's inexperience in the back four showed when he was almost caught in possession by Wayne Routledge shortly after the restart, before Shelvey fired wide having been teed up by Bony.
Everton struggled to recapture their first-half dominance after the break, but finally gave the visiting defence something to think about when Aiden McGeady curled just wide after creating a shooting angle just outside the box.
Shelvey, who has already served a one-match suspension for accumulating yellow cards this season, was made to pay for kicking the ball away in the first half when he received a second booking for cynically blocking James McCarthy in the 72nd minute.
Swansea adopted a more defensive approach after going a man down and will be satisfied with a point under the circumstances, but Everton, for whom Lukaku just failed to get on the end of a fizzed cross in the final seconds, may view the match as a missed opportunity to record a third successive Barclays Premier League win.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez: "You want to win the game. You are looking at statistics before the sending off for Swansea and we were in control.
"I'm disappointed by the game as I thought it was going to be more of a spectacle but it didn't turn out to be. I thought we were a little frustrated. Overall, it was a good clean sheet because you can leave yourselves exposed. Maybe our tempo in possession was not as sharp as it could have been.
"Alcaraz is injured and going to be out for a long time. It is a problem with a joint in his shoulder. It is one of those awkward accidents that happens in football and we wish him well."
Swansea manager Garry Monk: "All in all it was a well earned point. It was a cheap yellow which Jonjo Shelvey gave away for the first booking. I explained it to him but he is a clever lad and understands that when you are on a yellow you can't make those kind of challenges."
"I'm extremely proud of my team - the way they dug in for such a long period. They deserve that point for the effort they put in."
|30 Nov 2014||v Spurs (A)|
|06 Dec 2014||v Man City (A)|
|15 Dec 2014||v QPR (H)|
|22 Nov 2014||v West Ham (H)|
|20 Dec 2014||v Southampton (A)|
|03 Dec 2014||v Hull (H)|