Two own goals dealt Everton's chances of a top-four Premier League finish a severe blow as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Southampton.
The Merseysiders came into Saturday's game at St Mary's Stadium looking for a win to take them above Arsenal and into fourth, with Arsene Wenger's side not playing until Monday.
However, a nightmare start saw them fall behind inside a minute as Antolin Alcaraz's spectacular error put the hosts ahead.
Having benefited from three own goals themselves in recent weeks, the visitors were their own worst enemies on this occasion and their task became tougher after the half-hour as Seamus Coleman turned into his net.
Southampton are now six points clear of Newcastle United - Arsenal's next opponents - and remain on course to equal their highest Premier League finish of eighth.
Everton remain a point behind Arsenal and Roberto Martinez looks as though he may have to wait another year at least to achieve his aim of taking the club into the UEFA Champions League.
Martinez's side could hardly have made a worse start to the game. They coughed up possession from kick-off and the ball eventually found Rickie Lambert, whose inswinging cross from the left was headed past Tim Howard by a flying Alcaraz.
A lack of cutting edge in attack hampered Everton and they almost conceded again 20 minutes in as Steven Davis turned wide from 12 yards after another swift break down their right flank.
Coleman's attacking instincts were giving Southampton space, but a rare foray down the opposite side of the pitch led to the hosts' second.
Nathaniel Clyne zipped up the wing and clipped in a deep cross that John Stones failed to clear, giving Coleman no time to readjust, the ball bouncing off his forehead and into the net.
Romelu Lukaku headed over from four yards as Everton sought a way back into the contest, but they were fortunate not to concede a penalty as Stones appeared to handle Adam Lallana's cross.
Martinez introduced Leon Osman and Aiden McGeady in an attempt to spark life into his attack, but Lambert came close to a Southampton third as his 59th-minute free-kick nicked the outside of Howard's left-hand post.
McGeady's trickery on the left presented Lukaku with another glorious chance to score, but he planted a header straight at Artur Boruc.
Everton's challenge largely fizzled out as Southampton dominated the ball, consigning the Merseyside club to their fifth successive winless trip to St Mary's.
Having cost former boss David Moyes his job at Manchester United by extinguishing their hopes of reaching the Champions League last week, Everton's own bid now looks in serious jeopardy.
|City style suits me and thrills neutrals, says De Bruyne|
|Guardiola ready to risk Kompany for Man City after Stones´ injury|
|Stones can bounce back stronger - Kompany|
|In-form Chelsea have regained hunger - Conte|
|Inter 2 Atalanta 0: Icardi brace sends Spalletti´s side second|
|Giampaolo promises more from ´extraordinary´ Sampdoria|
|Record-breaking Valencia tee up blockbuster Barcelona clash|
|Poor West Ham performance at Watford was to be expected - Moyes|
|We will see what happens in the future - Silva non-committal on Everton rumours|
|Stones can bounce back stronger - Kompany|
|Football needs to do more to combat racism - Boateng|
|Watford 2 West Ham 0: Misery for Moyes on Hammers bow|
|Unlucky 13: Benevento suffer record-breaking defeat|
|Juventus lost composure amid Sampdoria onslaught - Allegri|
|Sampdoria 3 Juventus 2: Champions slip further off the pace after thriller|
|Coleman confirmed as Sunderland boss|
|I was just injured - Belgium´s Nainggolan blasts ´stupid´ claims of feigned ailment|
|Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1: Losing streak snapped to ease pressure on Christiansen|
|Hughes backs Giggs for Wales job|
|Madrid confirm Ramos´ broken nose after derby clash|
|Kane wants to retire with Tottenham|
|Mourinho: Man United lacked balance with attacking line-up|
|Pastore not considering PSG exit to help World Cup chances|
|Wenger, Ozil & Sanchez uncertainty affecting Arsenal, says Seaman|
|Silva not surprised by Chelsea, Spurs interest in Richarlison|
|Ancelotti, Conte, Allegri on shortlist to replace Ventura|
|Perth Glory 0 Melbourne Victory 2: Visitors claim first A-League win of season|
|Marcelo unaware of Ramos-Ronaldo rift at Real Madrid|
|Neymar will take PSG´s next penalty - Cavani|
|Ranieri would consider coaching Italy|
|Postecoglou set for decision on Socceroos future|
|Championship Review: Millwall deny sloppy Sunderland, Wolves back on top|
|Simeone rallies around under-fire Griezmann|
|It´s a growth process - Montella optimistic despite Napoli loss|
|Spalletti happy at Inter, tips Ancelotti for Italy job|
|Sarri defends sacked Ventura over Insigne´s Italy snub|
|Los Blank-os! Misfiring Real Madrid break new ground under Zidane|
|Zidane upbeat despite derby stalemate|
|Zidane unsure on Ramos absence with suspected broken nose|
|Mind the gap! Real Madrid must make history to retain LaLiga title|
|Napoli 2 AC Milan 1: Insigne stars after Italy snub as leaders move four points clear|
|Atletico Madrid 0 Real Madrid 0: Defences dominate in historic derby|
|Pjaca scores winner for Juventus Primavera on return from injury|
|Lions don´t recover like humans! - Ibrahimovic and Pogba thrilled to be back|
|Pogba was different class - Mourinho praises midfielder after impressive comeback|
|Competition is good – PSG boss Emery explains benching Mbappe|
|Klopp apologises after Moreno misses birth of child|
|Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1: Pogba shines as Ibrahimovic makes his return|
|Hodgson accuses Niasse of diving to win Everton penalty|
|Roma 2 Lazio 1: Nainggolan stunner proves decisive|
|´Why not?´ - Hazard believes Chelsea can catch City|
|Bournemouth hat-trick hero Wilson: I need to be selfish|
|Valverde admits scoreline in Leganes win was ´excessive´|
|Pulis leaves uncertain future to West Brom board|
|Results not far away for struggling Swansea, claims Clement|
|Heynckes proud of 500 Bundesliga wins as Bayern go six points clear|
|Al-Hilal 1 Urawa Red Diamonds 1: Rafael earns valuable first-leg draw|
|Stones could be set for six-week spell on sidelines|
|Paris Saint-Germain 4 Nantes 1: Cavani double puts hosts six clear|
|Guardiola delighted to maintain rhythm after international break|
|Woeful Sunderland set new record ahead of expected Coleman appointment|
|Suarez unmoved despite ending Barca drought|
|Leganes 0 Barcelona 3: Scruffy Suarez double ends goal drought|
|Crystal Palace 2 Everton 2: Niasse equaliser boosts Unsworth´s case|
|Heynckes reaches record 500th Bundesliga win|
|Bournemouth 4 Huddersfield Town 0: Hat-trick hero Wilson stars for 10-man Cherries|
|Burnley 2 Swansea City 0: Old boy Cork stars as Dyche´s men win again|
|Liverpool 3 Southampton 0: Record-breaking Salah blows Saints away|
|Leicester City 0 Manchester City 2: Jesus & De Bruyne on target as Guardiola´s title tilt continues|
|West Brom 0 Chelsea 4: Hazard leads rampant champions in piling pressure on Pulis|
|They love the club - Wenger hopeful over Ozil, Sanchez deals|
|Bayern Munich 3 Augsburg 0: Lewandowski double sends leaders six points clear|
|Wenger hails tenacious Ozil after derby delight|
|Lacazette and Sanchez are always dangerous - Ozil|
|Pochettino fumes over refereeing decisions after derby defeat|
|I´m happy at Juventus - Allegri rejects Italy speculation|
|Lamela returns from injury for Tottenham U23s|
|Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0: Ozil and Sanchez come up trumps for Wenger|
|Kimmich: Working with Guardiola was incredible|
|Bale thanks Coleman after Wales coach steps down|
|Kane & Alli fit for Spurs at Arsenal, Lacazette starts|
|Sydney leapfrog slapstick Jets at A-League summit|
|Christensen guides the way for Loftus-Cheek & Abraham at Chelsea|
|Mertens: Sarri´s tactics give Napoli 12 men|
|Aubameyang back in Dortmund fold pre-Spurs|
|Bosz laments ´ridiculous´ goals|
|Madrid have best kids stockpiled – Simeone|
|Guardiola backs Stones to get even better|
|Ibrahimovic will start with bench role, says Mourinho|
|Injections to play a friendly – Mourinho slams England over Jones handling|
|Championship Review: Sheffield United go top|
|Schurrle: Dortmund couldn´t deal with Stuttgart counter-attacks|