A difficult week off the pitch for Everton was matched on it as their delayed start to the Barclays Premier League season began with a home defeat to newcomers QPR.
In the days preceding kick-off the Merseyside club had been in the news as their financial plight came under the spotlight once again.
So tight are the finances at Goodison Park - chairman Bill Kenwright admitting they cannot borrow any more money from the bank and desperately need a new owner - that manager David Moyes has not been able to sign anyone this summer.
Breakthrough: Tommy Smith wheels away after scoring what proved to be the winner
MATCH FACTS Everton: Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Barkley, Heitinga (Saha, 75), Rodwell (Arteta 54), Osman, Cahill, Beckford (Fellaini 63).
Subs not used: Mucha, Hibbert, Saha, Vellios, Anichebe.
QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hall, Gabbidon, Connolly, Buzsaky, Derry, Faurlin, Smith (Ephraim 66), Taarabt, Agyemangc (Bothroyd 55).
Subs not used: Murphy, Gorkss, Perone, Moen, Andrade.
Yellow cards: Hall
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
With a number of senior first-teamers still not fully fit, Moyes' resources were stretched even thinner and QPR - who this week were taken over by airline boss Tony Fernandes - took full advantage to snatch a 1-0 win.
Tommy Smith scored the goal just past the half-hour - securing their first points of the season - in what was probably the visitors' only real chance to inflict Everton's first home defeat since December.
It was also the visitors' first top-flight away win since February 1996.
In fact, the last time QPR beat Everton 15 years ago they did so with the help of the likes of Ray Wilkins and Mark Hateley.
But the early focus was not on the past but the future as, with Mikel Arteta, Louis Saha and Marouane Fellaini on the bench, Moyes gave a debut to 17-year-old Ross Barkley.
The teenager, who has been at the club since the age of 11, did not disappoint as he gave many of his more experienced team-mates something to think about.
Despite his depleted resources Moyes will wonder why his team dominated throughout but the closest they came to scoring was Leighton Baines' first-half free-kick which crashed against the crossbar.
Off and running: Tommy Smith (right) scores the only goal of the game
Smith had given an early warning of the danger he posed with a low snap-shot half-volley which flew narrowly wide of Tim Howard's right-hand post.
Everton took control after that with Jack Rodwell having an appeal for a penalty turned down after a challenge from Matthew Connolly.
All smiles: Neil Warnock celebrates his side's victory over Everton
But it was the performance of the debutant Barkley which was drawing all the attention.
Midway through the first half a driving diagonal run from left to right saw him twice feign to shoot before he was brought down by Fitz Hall.
Chance: Tim Cahill is dejected after spurning an opportunity to level
Baines' free-kick cleared the wall and had goalkeeper Paddy Kenny rooted to the spot but cannoned back off the woodwork.
Barkley's confidence continued to grow as he sprayed crossfield passes around seemingly at his leisure, also curling a low 25-yard shot just wide.
However, Everton's early dominance began to wane and from QPR's first real spell of pressure they took the lead.
Lost cause: Louis Saha (left) was unable to conjure up an equaliser
Phil Jagielka, a target for Arsenal, carelessly gave the ball away to Alejandro Faurlin and it was quickly transferred to Akos Buzsaky in the inside-left channel whose low cross perfectly picked out Smith.
The winger's first touch took the ball out of his feet and with marker Jagielka out of position he coolly slotted his shot past Howard's outstretched left hand and into the far corner of the net.
Young gun: Everton's Ross Barkley (centre) tries to drive his side forward
After that it was all Everton up until the break with the previously quiet Tim Cahill suddenly finding himself at the centre of everything.
Having been tripped by Hall, the Australia international appeared to be pushed as he challenged for Baines' free-kick but when the ball was crossed back in by Jermaine Beckford, Cahill missed from close range at the far post.
Culprit: Phil Jagielka (left) slipped up to allow QPR to score
Cahill and Beckford could both have equalised with headers just before the break while Rodwell tamely chipped into Kenny's arms a couple of minutes into the second half.
It prompted the introduction of Arteta and then Fellaini, whose replacement of Beckford did not meet with wholehearted support from the Goodison Park crowd.
Plenty to ponder: Everton chairman Bill Kenwright watches ruefully
However, it almost paid instant rewards as Fellaini teed up Cahill, now playing as a striker, for a narrow-angle shot from the right which Kenny turned behind.
Barkley continued to look one of Everton's better players and fired a low drive wide before his deflected shot after cutting in from the right was well held by Kenny as QPR held on quite comfortably.
Dejected: Everton's players come to terms with their narrow defeat
A return to full fitness of their major stars will improve things for Everton, but any hopes Moyes had of getting off to a good start for once were ended by the Londoners.
The Toffees boss admitted finishing in the top 10 would be a tough task this season. On the basis of one match, he may be right. Watch all the Premier League goals every week on our brilliant video playerClick here for the latest Premier League table, fixtures and resultsEverton v QPR: All the action as it unfolded at Goodison ParkAll the latest Everton news, features and opinionAll the latest QPR news, features and opinion