A 24-pass move resulted in a Jeff Hendrick winner as the Goodison Park crowd were left frustrated after another disappointing Everton display.
Burnley weather an early Everton storm to take the lead with their first flurry forward
Whilst Sean Dyche opted to field an unchanged side, Ronald Koeman made five changes from the team that were held to a disappointing draw by Limassol in the Europa League on Thursday. The most high-profile inclusion was Oumar Niasse who made his first Premier League start for Everton in 17 months as Wayne Rooney missed out.
The hosts would have been keen to get off to a positive start and encourage their supporters to back the struggling outfit. They were offensive from the outset and Niasse tested Nick Pope from range after just two minutes following strong hold-up play by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Everton continued to press and should have opened the scoring on five minutes. Nikola Vlasic set up Gylfi Sigurdsson but his strike from inside the box was thwarted by Pope. Former Claret Michael Keane and midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin then squandered another opportunity between them as they attacked the same ball from a corner.
Very little was sticking with Burnley lone striker Chris Wood as they struggled to venture out of their half. Yet Everton, appearing to play 4-4-2, still offered very little in the way of a target option as both Niasse and Calvert-Lewin continued to drift wide, a familiar problem for the Toffees.
However, when the visitors did manage to push forward, their composure was duly rewarded. Clever work from Scott Arfield released Stephen Ward who drifted away from Vlasic. The left-back pulled the ball back to Jeff Hendrick who sold a dummy to Schneiderlin before slotting the ball calmly into the bottom corner after 24 passes between nine Burnley players.
Flat home response leads to half-time jeers
The goal only served to dampen the Goodison Park spirits further as Everton’s tempo was slowed down. Less movement limited options for short passes but Niasse remained a willing runner for long balls and held one up for Idrissa Gueye who could only slice his effort wide.
Wood’s strength was causing the Everton central defence problems and he almost profited from a speculative flick after Pope’s deep free-kick. The Burnley record signing looked to loop the ball over Jordan Pickford but could not get enough leverage on the header.
Everton then almost gave themselves a mountain to climb as Sigurdsson and then Ashley Williams mishit clearances. Arfield found the ball at his feet but fell to the floor in the box and was duly booked for simulation. Another poor clearance from Williams then fell to Jack Cork who saw his effort deflected just over.
Burnley hold firm as pressure mounts on Koeman
A silenced Goodison crowd were subjected to long-range efforts from their side after the restart. Gueye fired over with a speculative strike before Calvert-Lewin saw a deflected effort loop into the arms of Pope.
Koeman threw on Wayne Rooney in place of the ineffective Schneiderlin but the hosts still carried very little threat midway through the second half. At the other end, Robbie Brady tested Pickford from a tight angle as the visitors threatened a second.
Cuco Martina and Leighton Baines did at least begin to venture further forward from the full-back positions and the former picked out Calvert-Lewin with a whipped cross but the youngster could only head wide.
Tom Davies also took to the field and Everton began to park several players on the edge of the Burnley box. Yet chances were still few and far between as another speculative effort from Gueye and a similar approach from Rooney were all the hosts could muster for a substantial period.
Rooney appealed for what would have been a generous penalty as the ball struck Matt Lowton’s raised hand but Calvert-Lewin was still looking the most likely to execute an equaliser. However, his tame effort floated into Pope’s hands as Everton began to run out of time.
Everton quite simply had very little in the way of creativity and a stubborn Burnley defence easily held out for an excellent three points. It takes the Clarets into the top six whilst Everton enter the international break with Ronald Koeman’s job severely under pressure.