KINGSTON UPON HULL, United Kingdom (AFP) - Hull City boosted their Premier League survival hopes and inflicted more festive period misery upon Everton with a 2-0 win against the Toffees at the KC Stadium on New Year's Day.
Ahmed Elmohamady headed Hull in front on 33 minutes and Nikica Jelavic took advantage of poor defending to score against his old club two minutes prior to the interval as Steve Bruce's struggling side claimed just their second win in 13 games.
The Tigers move two points clear of the relegation zone after ending a run of five home matches without a win, but this latest defeat further increases the pressure on Everton, who finished with 10 men after having Antolin Alcaraz sent off late on.
Roberto Martinez's men have endured a dreadful run of results over Christmas and New Year, with this their fourth consecutive defeat.
After finishing fifth last season, Everton are therefore now looking rather nervously over their shoulders towards the battle for the drop at the start of 2015, and nowhere has their decline been more marked than in defence.
A team that conceded only 39 goals in the whole of the last campaign have already let in 33 goals this season and have now gone 10 league games without keeping a clean sheet.
With Tim Howard out with a calf injury, Spaniard Joel Robles again started in goal for the visitors, who were looking to bounce back from a 3-2 loss at Newcastle United on Sunday.
Phil Jagielka returned and Gareth Barry dropped into the back line, although he was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty for an early foul on Abel Hernandez which appeared to take place inside the area.
Referee Kevin Friend instead awarded a free-kick which was driven over by Croatia striker Jelavic.
Robles then saved from Hernandez before Hull were dealt a blow when Scotland full-back Andrew Robertson was forced off injured midway through the first half.
However, his replacement Liam Rosenior did not need long to make an impression, crossing from the left to the back post, where Elmohamady got in front of Leighton Baines to head home.
Hull had followed up a Boxing Day win at Sunderland by losing at home to Leicester City on Sunday and they began the day outside the drop zone only on goal difference.
Nevertheless, they made the most of generous Everton defending to add to their lead on 43 minutes, Jelavic controlling on his chest and lobbing over Robles after Hernandez had hooked the ball over a static visiting back line.
Everton sent on Romelu Lukaku and Bryan Oviedo at the start of the second half and moved Baines into midfield in a bid to turn around their flagging fortunes.
Despite that, they never really looked like scoring and a miserable day was complete when Alcaraz was sent off four minutes from time for a second yellow card.