Liverpool - QPR piled on the misery for cash-strapped Everton as Tommy Smith's goal clinched a 1-0 win at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The build-up to QPR's visit to Merseyside had been marred by an admission from Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright that Everton cannot borrow any more money from the bank and desperately need a new owner.
Kenwright thought his comments were strictly for a group of Everton supporters, but they were leaked into the public domain, casting a shadow over his team's preparations.
Everton boss David Moyes, whose only close-season signing was a free transfer, admitted on Friday that fans shouldn't expect a top-10 finish and this lacklustre defeat -- sealed by Smith's first half strike --confirmed his worst fears.
While Everton face a dispiriting season, QPR are suddenly looking forward to a brighter future following the takeover this week by Malaysian tycoon Tony Fernandes.
Fernandes bought 66 percent of the newly-promoted west London club and Neil Warnock's team responded by securing their first top-flight away win since February 1996.
Moyes' side were making a delayed start to their Premier League campaign after last weekend's scheduled opener at Tottenham was postponed due to the London riots, but they might have wished for another weekend off.
Everton had been in control early on, with Jack Rodwell having an appeal for a penalty turned down after a challenge from Matthew Connolly.
But it was the performance of the 17-year-old debutant Ross Barkley which caught the eye as the midfielder -- who was by far Everton's best player -- won a free-kick that Leighton Baines fired against the crossbar.
However, Everton's early dominance began to wane and from QPR's first real spell of pressure they took the lead.
Phil Jagielka carelessly gave the ball away to Alejandro Faurlin and it was quickly transferred to Akos Buzsaky in the inside-left channel whose low cross perfectly picked out Smith.
Smith's first touch took the ball out of his feet and with Jagielka out of position he coolly slotted his shot past Howard's outstretched left hand and into the far corner of the net.
Tim Cahill missed from close range at the far post as he made a poor connection with another Baines free-kick as Everton tried to respond.
Everton's last chance went when Cahill drove in a powerful effort that Kenny turned behind.