Match Report Everton returned to competitive action looking to set a different tone to the one with which they went into the break for the World Cup but emerged from Boxing Day with a fourth successive defeat in all competitions as Wolves won this tense “six-pointer” in stoppage time. Julen Lopetegui picked up his first win as the Black Country club’s new manager in his first game at the helm thanks to substitute Rayan Ait-Nui’s last-gasp goal while the Blues’ boss, Frank Lampard, hustled down the tunnel with Goodison Park’s frustrated boos in his ears at full-time. Everton had their chances to have put this game to bed long before a largely poor Wolves outfit caught them cold on the break in the final minute of time added on but they were plagued by wastefulness in an attack that generally creates and scores precious few goals. Yerry Mina, playing in place of the ineligible Conor Coady, had settled the nerves of a shaky start by heading in what was Everton’s first goal that came directly from a corner all season after just six minutes. The hosts, who were once more without Dominic Calvert-Lewin, had looked disjointed in the very early going and Jordan Pickford, who should have been the sharpest of Lampard’s players given how recently he had been in action for England in Qatar, was particularly wasteful with his distribution. But when Anthony Gordon and Neal Maupay pressured the visitors into conceding a corner, Mina won his mis-matched duel with Hugo Bueno and met Dwight McNeil’s dead-ball delivery with a glancing header across Jose Sa and into the far corner of the goal to make it 1-0. Wolves hit back 15 minutes later with a corner routine of their own, however, as the ball was pinged to Joao Moutinho on the edge of the box but, rather than have a crack at goal, the Portuguese lofted a clever ball over a static defence where Daniel Podence arrived completely unmarked to guide it past Pickford and make it 1-1. Vitalii Mykolenko steered a terrific ball into Wolves’s penalty area five minutes later but Gordon allowed himself to be closed down in a really promising position when a first-time lay-off to the unmarked Maupay would surely have resulted in a goal. Then Maupay himself squandered a gilt-edged chance when Wolves got themselves into a mess in the centre-circle, the ball broke for the Frenchman to drive away for a one-on-one opportunity against Sa but his first touch was disappointingly heavy and the keeper charged it down outside his box. Everton’s best chance of the remainder of the contest arrived 11 minutes before the break when Idrissa Gueye made a fine interception and immediately threaded the ball through to Gordon in the box where the young winger took one touch and tried to tuck it past Sa but the Portuguese pushed his shot away one-handed. Then, in the 42nd minute, a loose touch from Nathan Collins gifted possession to Maupay but the striker fired another great chance straight at the keeper. Neither manager made a change at the break and it was the Toffees who looked the more likely to make the breakthrough in the early part of the second half. Maupay passed up the chance to set Gueye up in the box four minutes after the restart but Everton win it back and won a free-kick in a dangerous spot when Maupay was fouled but Gordon was miles off target with a direct effort from 25 yards out. Bueno had a rare chance for Wolves at the other end but Pickford was equal to it before the first waves of substitutions saw McNeil replaced by Demarai Gray but the wide man would get see little of the ball as Lampard’s side would struggle to make inroads for the remainder of a match that became increasingly scrappy and disrupted. Gray would get one sight of goal with 10 minutes left when Maupay was again fouled on the edge of the box but the substitute swung the resulting effort from the free-kick inches wide. Maupay was replaced by Tom Cannon with seven minutes of the regulation 90 to go but would get just one cross to contest that Toti Gomes beat him to while Ben Godfrey, a late change for Mina, had an effort cleared off the goal line and Mykolenko mis-cued a volley from a difficult angle with six minutes left. The onslaught for which the Goodison faithful were baying in the closing stages never came, however, with Lampard’s charges continually recycling the ball in injury time rather than trying to play the percentages with more of a target man now spearheading the attack. There was a cruel irony, however, that as soon as they shed their inhibitions with one final attack and lost the ball on the edge of the opposition area, they were hit with a sucker punch as Wolves tore away on the counter-attack with numbers, Adama Traore centred and Ait-Nui took a touch to set himself in front of goal before lashing it home. It was a cruel and dispiriting end to a game that had been billed as must-win for Everton, who had lost at Leicester and Bournemouth prior to the six-week hiatus for the World Cup and who could be in the bottom three when they travel to the home of the Champions, Manchester City on New Year’s Eve. The result also heaps more pressure on Lampard to solve his side’s timidity and profligacy going forward and on he and Kevin Thelwell to bring in attacking reinforcements as a matter of dire urgency when the transfer window opens next week. Lyndon Lloyd top Matchday Updates Everton could not have gotten off to a better start with a goal from Mina after 7 minutes. But they allowed Wolves back in with dreadful defending at a corner, and then were exposed pressing for a late winner that Wolves got at the death on a lethal counter-attack. The Echo somewhat disingenuously tells us that the Everton first-team manager has a 'full squad' available for selection – that is of course except for the rather significant problem of injuries that preclude the availability of Andros Townsend and James Garner, as well as the massive absence of defensive fixture Conor Coady being unable to play against his parent club. Frank Lampard also warned on Friday that "it's going to be tight" for Calvert-Lewin to be available today as his interminable injury problems persist despite 6 weeks to sort them out. And indeed he is not risked in the squad for this vital game. The Blues kicked things off but played it all the way back to Pickford as Wolves immediately applied the effective press that kept Everton in their own half for the first 2 minutes. Repeated giveaways then put the Blues on the backfoot until Maupay nipped in with a great steal. But almost all of the first 5 minutes were played in the Everton half. The home side finally got forward and won a corner that McNeil planted nicely onto Mina's head and he guided a clever header through the crowd as he handed off a defender, and it bounced straight into the Wolves net. Great start! That got the crowd going until Mina was trodden on by Diego Costa. Iwobi tried to release Maupay but just overhit. Wolves tried to respond but Everton had finally woken up after a poor first 5 minutes and were able to keep them in check, Tarkowski making an excellent tackle on Samedo in the box. Hwang then tried and failed to get around Tarkowski. But Wolves won a corner on their left that was very cleverly worked, Podence running in diagonally behind everyone to beat Pickford with a low strike as the entire Everton defence froze. A picture-perfect lesson in how to bamboozle a moribund defence. Everton looked to get forward through Mykolenko and his cross was perfectly weighted for Gordon but he fumbled it and the chance evaporated instantly. Maulpay then got free but seemed to be running in treacle as he played the ball too far ahead of his own feet, inviting Sa to come and challenge for it. Wolves were able to waltz down the left flank and cross in for Diego Costa who could not get enough power on his header to beat Pickford. Gueye created an absolutely brilliant chance for Gordon who thought a deft touch would be enough to beat Sa when it needed a right proper smack on the ball – something Everton players seem maddeningly averse to. What an incredible chance spurned. Patterson showed a little too much aggression, pushing Podence in the back and earning a seriously undisciplined yellow card. A McNeil free-kick was then floated over everyone and out of play. Maupay was gifted the ball by the Wolves defence but decided to shoot directly through Sa's body rather than either side of him, and again with insufficient power. Another McNeil free-kick floated over everyone. Mykolenko drove strongly forward and into the middle but Gordon didn't seem awake enough to do anything with the ball that was again delivered directly to his feet. Everton worked the ball backwards and sideways again too aimlessly, much to the frustration of the Goodison crowd as a good many booed the half-time whistle. Everton had a couple of great chances to get ahead in the early moves of the second half. First, Gueye released Iwobi and Gordon's ball in should have created something but Collins was across well to defend. Then Iwobi had a close-range header placed into Sa's hands but he was offside. Then Maupay almost played in Gueye but the Wolves defenders were too quick to deny them space. A Gordon free-kick was scooped well high and wide of the goal. After that, Wolves thought they would have a go, Costa getting into a good position before misplacing his layoff, then Bueno coming around the side to lash his shot straight at Pickford. Onana got an excellent intercepttin on Podence. The pace of the game improved with the subs, Patterson doing some great work before he crossed but it was cleared. Gueye was then caught with a very high boot from Kilman. Some neat footwork from Gordon took him past a couple of defenders and into the area, the ball spilling to Iwobi whose shot wouldn't have beaten a pack of hedgehogs on the goalline. Mina went down with cramp and Lampard took the chance to replace him with Ben Godfrey as the time ticked away relentlessly, Everton still not showing enough forward momentum. Neves got a yellow for an exuberant challenge on Mykolenko, then yellow for Totti Gomes on Maupay. Gray stepped up for the free-kick, curling away past the post. Surely with less than 7 minutes, it was far too late to bring on Cannon and Duocoure. And there was pinball in the Wolves area, Gordon's shot deflected, Godfrey's shot blocked as no-one could turn it in. Mykolenko then tried an ambitious volley that sheared away from goal. Everton applied a bit more effort in pursuit of the elusive winner as Wolves dropped back into a defensive lock. Patterson had put in a number of crosses, the best one on a plate for Cannon at the near post but Totti just got in ahead of him. Costa was about to get free when Tarkowski ran across him and the Wolves player saw yellow for his reaction. With the crowd increasingly agitated, Everton looked to do the impossible in the final minutes. But it was Wolves who took their opportunity as they broke forward in numbers and Ait-Nouri could not miss from the middle of the goal in the last minute of added time. An utterly shocking defeat for Lampard. Everton: Pickford, Patterson [Y:39'], Tarkowski, Mina (76' Godfrey), Mykolenko, Iwobi, Gana (83' Duocoure), Onana, McNeil (56' Gray), Gordon, Maupay (83' Cannon). Subs not Used: Begovic, Holgate, Coleman, Davies, Vinagre. Wolverhampton Wanderers: Sa; Semedo, Collins, Kilman [Y:64'], Bueno (59' Traore); Hodge (59' Nunes), Neves [Y:79'], Joao Moutinho (79' Totti Gomes [Y:81']), Podence [Y:61'] (72' Goncalo Guedes), Diego Costa [Y:90'], Hwang (59' Ait-Nouri).Subs not Used: Jimenez, Sarkic, Ronan, Lembikisa. Referee: Craig PawsonVAR: Andre Marriner Attendance: 39,252 Michael Kenrick top Match Preview Everton’s season resumes on Boxing Day following the unprecedented pause for the World Cup when Wolverhampton Wanderers come to Goodison Park. The Blues pick up their Premier League programme following a six-week hiatus to accommodate Qatar 2022 with a clash against the division’s bottom side, the first of three home games between now and mid-January that offer the chance to pick up valuable points after three winless games prior to the pause in the season. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has a chance of being involved in some capacity while Ben Godfrey is available for selection for the first time since August. Calvert-Lewin missed the start of the campaign with a knee injury he picked up in training just three days before Everton’s first fixture against Chelsea and has only been available for six of the Blues’ 15 League matches so far, having also dislocated a shoulder and tweaked a hamstring. That has left Frank Lampard with just Neal Maupay and Salomon Rondon as striking options, with young Tom Cannon coming into the senior side for his debut in the most recent game against Bournemouth. Rondon has since left Everton after his contract was terminated by mutual consent and, with the January transfer window still 11 days away and any new signings going to need time to bed in, Calvert-Lewin’s return could be pivotal. Over the past few days, Lampard has been sounding the same caution regarding Calvert-Lewin's chances of playing as he has been for most of his time in charge for the Toffees, with the sense being that the striker is unlikely to start on Monday. “As we sit here now, Dominic’s recovering well and he’s going to join in with us in training tomorrow so it gives us the potential that he may be available for Wolves at the minute,” Lampard told evertonfc.com on Thursday. “But I don’t want to commit to that because he’s been out and we all know he’s had various injuries, particularly the knee was the one we want to clear up. So hopefully now he’s cleared up and it’s making sure he’s match fit and ready so we’ll have to see how that one goes. “[He’s] massively important but some things are out of your control with injuries. “Hopefully we can get him back fit because I’ve not really had a regularly fit Dominic and when you talk about the level of player that he is and can be, that’s a big deal. So we have to get him fit.” In his pre-match press conference, Lampard reiterated that it the sitation with Calvert-Lewin was "tight" in terms of the Wolves game: "He going to be training over the next couple of days. [We're] trying to push him a little bit in terms of match fitness. "But the injury feels good and that's the best news but we don't want to go too soon for match fitness, so that's the question mark for Wolves." Lampard confirmed, however, that while James Garner is still some weeks away and Andros Townsend has suffered a setback in his recover from a torn ACL, Ben Godfrey is fully recovered from the leg fracture he suffered on the opening day of the season. The defender has been building his fitness with outings for the Under-21s over the World Cup break and is now ready to go back into the first team. “It’s great for Ben,” Lampard said. “He’s a frustrated lad when he’s not playing and I get that [but] he’s training well, he’s training hard and he’s now ready for selection so we’ll have to keep an eye on how he trains and, when the right opportunity comes, he can come in and take it. “James is progressing okay. It’s a difficult injury so we’re still looking at February for him and he’s just working away.” Lampard was asked about how the squad has been preparing for what has become an important clash with Wolves in the context of the Blues’ Premier League position and the disappointing manner in which they went into the break for World Cup in mid-November. He said that he, his staff and the players have been able to focus without needing to worry about specific games which has allowed them to just focus on the work in training. “I think it’s important to understand that the two games against Bournemouth, particularly, were not the level where we have to be,” Lampard explained. “It’s not a bad thing [for the players] to know that — they have to know that — but also to look forward with a positive attitude, correct things, improve, work hard, understand the small details and differences that will get us the results we want going forward. “The best teams play with real consistency, so to go from the Palace performance to what we saw against Bournemouth… I think we have to work back and work out what changed in terms of the level and our output in the games and become more consistent with it for sure.” Wolves travel for what will be Julen Lopetegui's first match in charge since succeeding Bruno Lage at Molineux immediately prior to the World Cup. The 56-year-old has the task of lifting the struggling Black Country club off the bottom of the table but already has a new signing in the form of Matheus Cunha to look forward to when the transfer window officially opens on the 1st of January. Wolves came into the break having lost two of their last four of their last five games but with so much time having elapsed since the last round of Premier League fixtures, unpredictability around how each squad will react and the fact that Lopetegui could provide a new manager bounce, it's very difficult to know predict how this match will go. Lopetegui will have Raul Jiminez back fit, something Lage couldn't count on, after the striker turned out for Mexico in Qatar and scored in Wolves's win over Gillingham in the EFL Cup last Tuesday but Pedro Neto, Chiquinho and Sasa Kalajdzi are all out injured and Jonny Otto and Boubacar Traor are doubts. Everton, meanwhile, will be without Conor Coady who is ineligible to face his parent club. That could mean an opportunity for Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate or even Godfrey to step in. Lampard may not throw Godfrey straight back in given his lack of playing time this season and may yet have an eye on the speculation that Mina could depart in January with his contract set to expire next summer. It's very early in the season for this to be regarded as a "six-pointer" in terms of the relegation picture but there is no doubt that where morale, self-belief and Everton's need to pick up points at home in the coming weeks, this is a massive fixture. A victory would be huge in that context and provide a fillip for what will be an even bigger test on New Year's Eve at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City. Kick-off: 3pm, Monday, 26th December, 2022Referee: Craig PawsonVAR: Andre MarrinerLast Time: Everton 0 - 1 Wolves Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Patterson, Mina, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Gueye, Onana, Iwobi, Gray, Gordon, Maupay Lyndon Lloyd top * Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.