Everton ended the 2017/18 season with a 3-1 defeat to West Ham at the London Stadium - a match decided by a Manuel Lanzini double and Marko Arnautovic.
Oumar Niasse pulled one back with an excellent turn-and-finish a quarter of an hour before the end, but the Toffees were unable to conjure up a way back into the contest.
Senegal striker Niasse - recalled to the starting line-up - was good value for his goal, having been denied in the first half by an excellent save from Adrian when the game was goalless. He also struck the frame of the goal shortly before he powered in his well-taken finish.
Despite the reverse, Everton finished the campaign in eighth position in the Premier League table, following Leicester City’s 5-4 loss at Tottenham Hotspur.
Manager Sam Allardyce made two changes to the Everton team for the Club’s 38th and final Premier League fixture of the campaign. Oumar Niasse was selected to partner Cenk Tosun in attack, while there was also a start for Ramiro Funes Mori in central defence in a reshuffled wing-back formation. Yannick Bolasie dropped down to the bench, while Theo Walcott was judged fit enough to be included amongst the substitutes having recovered from his recent calf strain.
Everton began positively, earning a couple of early corners from which Funes Mori, off balance and under pressure, fired over the bar from 10 yards out.
Ten minutes in and the Toffees had Jordan Pickford to thank after the Club’s Player of the Season pulled off a top-drawer save to deny Mark Noble. The England goalkeeper reacted fantastically to dive low to his left and push away the West Ham captain’s shot. It was a double source of frustration for the hosts as Marko Arnautovic had another goalbound attempt blocked by Michael Keane seconds earlier.
The tempo of the contest then drifted and play was stopped twice so that Arthur Masuaku could receive treatment for an injury sustained in a challenge with Funes Mori. After trying to run off his ankle problem, the French defender eventually accepted defeat and was forced off midway through the opening half.
A slick passing move involving Lanzini and Joao Mario got the home supporters excited, but the vigilant Pickford had the Portuguese midfielder’s shot covered as it flashed fractionally past the post.
Everton’s best chance of the first half fell the way of Niasse on 31 minutes but the Senegal international, scorer of eight goals this season, was unable to add to his tally after being foiled by Adrian. Niasse reacted quickly to pounce on an error by centre-back Angelo Ogbonna and after having a clear run on goal, his finish was deflected away by the Hammers keeper's leg.
It was the same story moments later as Niasse this time collected a ball to feet by Leighton Baines, before spinning and hitting a skidding shot that was again repelled by Adrian.
Despite those two good Everton opportunities, it was West Ham who struck first eight minutes before the interval. An attack down the right was played inside by Kouyate where Lanzini was able to beat Pickford from 20 yards with an inch-perfect shot that nestled low into the net, past the Everton man’s left hand.
The Blues looked for a response, however the best they could carve out prior to half-time was a wayward long-range shot from Davies that was lashed over the bar following good hold-up play from Cenk Tosun.
Allardyce switched to a four-man defence at the start of the second half, also changing personnel as Davy Klaassen came on to replace Funes Mori. The Dutchman’s first notable contribution was a well-hit volley from 30 yards which did not generate enough power to seriously trouble Adrian.
A quarter of an hour later, Theo Walcott was introduced in a straight swap for Tosun at the top of the pitch. But before the January acquisition could get a first touch, Everton found themselves trailing by two goals.
Arnautovic spun past Keane on the edge of the area and hit a fiercely-struck shot that Pickford was unable to keep out.
The Austrian thought he had netted another eight minutes later but his header was correctly disallowed for offside.
Niasse put in another trademark shift full of endeavour and the forward was rewarded with a goal on 74 minutes. Moments after Adrian had turned the Senegalese’s shot onto the post, Niasse was on hand to pick up Aaron Cresswell’s headed clearance, turn his marker, and blast home from close range.
But just as Everton gave themselves a chance of a fightback, the Hammers restored their two-goal advantage eight minutes later. It was another long-range effort as Lanzini found space to turn and curl a finish past Pickford and into the top-right hand corner.
The Blues kept going and nearly grabbed a second when Niasse hit a half volley which was destined for the back of the net, only for Adrian to deny him once again.