Both sides have upwardly mobile ambitions for the remainder of this season but, deep down, they know that there is little left to play for and consciously or not that was the overriding impression conveyed at Goodison Park, despite Everton's 2-0 victory.
For an occasion with a touch of class, look elsewhere - or at least until the 72nd minute when Mikel Arteta hit a fine free-kick that helped Everton win the game, following Gretar Steinsson's unforgiving dismissal. Steven Pienaar also scored with a minute left to add a layer of sheen to the proceedings that was barely deserved.
The first-half was notable for little apart from Victor Anichebe's poor early miss which shortly preceded his exit on a stretcher following a strong challenge from Paul Robinson.
Bolton Wanderers' moments of brightness were all too rare as well although Kevin Davies should perhaps have scored but for a sprawling block from Tim Howard.
The action following the interval was marginally more entertaining, comparatively speaking, as Tim Cahill and Yakubu both worried Jussi Jaaskelainen on separate occasions while one Leighton Baines' error gifted Chung-Yong Lee a chance outside the box that he had neither the good fortune or wherewithal to convert.
The fortune was actually all Everton's and it proved to be crucial.
With 20 minutes to go, Steinsson was adjudged to have brought Yakubu down on the edge of the box and had to make his exit because he was the last defender.
From the resulting free-kick, and as Steinsson's early bath had barely started running, Arteta brilliantly curled the ball just inside the post for the first bright spot and the first goal.
Everton pressed more and more as the end progressed, sensing that Bolton's spirit was broken, and that was confirmed with 60 seconds remaining when Pienaar swept home to make sure.