McCartney rues missed chances

George McCartney reflected on what might have been in the wake of a second disappointing defeat by Everton in four days.

The left-back said West Ham United were punished for not taking some good early chances when Everton nicked a goal through Yakubu on the stroke of half-time before wrapping up a 2-0 victory courtesy of Andy Johnson in the closing stages. The loss mirrored Wednesday night's Carling Cup exit to the same opponents, when Everton goals towards the end of each half made the difference.

McCartney said: "We conceded in the 45th minute again and obviously that has been able to lift them the lift in the second half. We found it hard to break them down and they have scored another breakaway goal in injury time. Two-nil looks harsh at the end of the day."

Saturday's loss took Everton into the top six, with the Toffees showing the benefit of being able to pick 15 of the 16 players that were involved in their 2-1 midweek win - including the same starting eleven. Such consistency has been a feature of their season, and it has helped give them the understanding needed to get results home and away.

"They are a tough team to break down," McCartney said: "It is something like 12 games unbeaten now and in the last couple of years they have been pushing for those Champions League places," he added. "They are on a bit of a roll at the minute. Although we tried our best and worked hard it wasn't good enough.

"We were looking for a bit of revenge after playing on Wednesday night and getting beat, but it wasn't to be. I think we were probably the better team first half and created a few chances but when you don't take the chances sometimes you get punished for it and that was the case today."