IF THIS was a boxing match the towel could have been thrown in by Wigan long before the end - but Everton, as ever when it has mattered this season, lacked the knockout punch.
In the parlance of boxing, the other sport that gripped the city this weekend, 'slappers' who pepper their opponents with punch after ineffectual punch but barely connect get nowhere.
Now that weakness looks like condemning Everton to mediocrity too.
The Blues missed even more than their usual avalanche of chances to finish off Wigan Athletic, and it left the manager, players and fans mired in frustration and doubt.
What makes the predicament undermining David Moyes's side even worse, is that he knew in the summer.
The Everton boss fretted then that the lack of an in-form proven striker was the essential ingredient missing from his team.
He was unable to remedy it though, and to say that failure to buy a goal-scorer has come back to haunt him is like saying the White House is mildly peeved about Wikileaks. Confidence can be an ethereal quality, and when Everton are failing to score early in games that they have started brightly, their self-belief vanishes.
In one hectic three minute spell Everton fluffed three gilt-edged chances. Tim Cahill's header hit the post, with Ali Al-Habsi beaten.
Then Seamus Coleman did superbly to trick his way into the box but hit his shot straight at the keeper, and finally Steven Pienaar blasted over the bar.
That Everton somehow didn't score was near laughable, but mirth is in short supply around Goodison these days.
The rare and unpleasant occurrence of a player being booed onto the pitch, as the crowed showed Victor Anichebe their anger at stories he had rejected a lucrative new contract offer, only deepened the gloom.