This might actually be a result that encourages David Beckham to come to Merseyside rather than send him running to the Hollywood hills. Beckham has long seen himself as a footballing white knight and Everton, two points off a relegation place and desperately short of money, are an institution in need of rescue.
Two of their next three fixtures pitch them against Chelsea and Manchester City and they will be depleted in the coming weeks, losing two of their great inspirations. Mikel Arteta was dismissed for attempting to stamp on Gonzalo Jara and will be suspended, and Tim Cahill, whose header three minutes before the interval ought to have provided a platform for the kind of revival Bolton managed against another promoted club, will miss most of January. He is off to Qatar to represent Australia in the Asia Cup.
However, David Moyes requires rather more than an ageing dead ball specialist who has Hello! magazine on speed dial. After what the Everton manager described as a "terrible" first half, Jermaine Beckford had four opportunities to put pressure on a West Brom side who had not won in the league at Goodison since Margaret Thatcher was quoting St Francis of Assisi on the steps of Downing Street. One was superbly saved by Scott Carson, the other was acrobatically cleared off the line by Gabriel Tamas, while the remaining two were aimed respectively high and wide.
Moyes did not look for excuses for his team, who have gone five games without a win. "We didn't start well," he said. "You can play badly and maybe get away with it but we didn't get away with it today because we didn't pick up well enough.
"We were terrible in the first half, we got the goal and the players had a go. In truth we were maybe close to winning it at one point, but in the end we've ended up losing quite heavily."
One of the players sent on in the second half was Jermaine Beckford, who had a shot cleared off the line and squandered two other good chances.
"You've got to score," said Moyes. "When chances come like that, whatever level, that's it. It is very rarely you get as many. You have to score."
Despite West Brom coming to Merseyside having lost four of their last five, Paul Scharner, for one, would have fancied his chances. When his header thundered into the net below the Gwladys End, it was his 15th Premier League goal and a third of them had come against Everton.
It may have struck the back of the net hard but not compared to Chris Brunt's free-kick 10 minutes later that finished in the intersection where crossbar meets goalpost, giving Tim Howard no chance. This was a reminder that however poor West Brom's recent results have been, they have taken seven points at the Emirates, Old Trafford and now Goodison.
Moyes who was already missing Marouane Fellaini through suspension, would not discuss Arteta's dismissal except to point out that an elbow on Leighton Baines seconds earlier should have been punished. Nevertheless, West Brom exploited their advantage clinically.
Somen Tchoyi cut in from the left, measured his shot and sent it thundering into the top corner of Howard's net. Three minutes from time, Tchoyi and Youssouf Mulumbu combined to give the scoreline an embarrassing and somewhat underserved sheen, although Mulumbu was then shown a yellow card for celebrating and then sent off immediately after the restart for a second bookable offence. That it was then awarded as a Sylvain Distin own goal would not have helped his mood.
THE FANS' PLAYER RATINGS AND VERDICT CARL ROPER, Observer reader It was an off day. We got the team selection wrong. Why we are starting with Coleman and Rodwell on the bench I don't know. Of the players who started only Tim Cahill came out of that with any credit. I've no complaints about Arteta's sending off as he stamped on the player. We didn't lose 4-1 because we were down to 10 men, it was because we played rubbish. Beckford's confidence is at rock bottom just now and he had at least two chances and couldn't score. Some of their goals were fantastic, especially the free-kick. They pass the ball well and took advantage of our off-day. Good on them.
The fan's player ratings Howard 5; Hibbert 4, Jagielka 4, Distin 4, Baines 5; Heitinga 3 (Beckford 55 4); Anichebe 5 (Rodwell 61 5), Cahill 7, Arteta 4, Pienaar 6; Yakubu 5 (Saha 55 4)
GLYNIS WRIGHT, Baggies.com Brilliant victory. We started nervously because we really needed that win as we've only had one point from the last five games and Everton were sweating because they haven't won in five. But we got the first goal after 15 minutes, got our confidence and started passing the ball a bit. Chris Brunt scored a brilliant banana-shot free-kick around the wall. You've got to see it to believe it. Carson worries me. He pulled off several good saves and then drops clangers. The Arteta sending-off was the turning point in the match. Tchoyi terrorised the Everton defence when he came on.
The fan's player ratings Carson 5; Jara 6, Scharner 7, Tamas 6, Cech 7; Mulumbu 4; Brunt 8 (Barnes 90 n/a), Morrison 6, Dorrans 6 (Reid 73 6), Thomas 6 (Tchoyi 66 7); Odemwingie 6
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