Considering the porous nature of their defence, particularly away from home, being exposed at the back is hardly a new experience for Manchester City.
Nevertheless, as Stuart Pearce, the City manager, celebrated a performance of some resilience from his team, capped by Micah Richards' latest of late interventions to salvage a first away point of the season, the last thing he was expecting was to be approached by a policeman and informed of the latest indiscretion by his midfielder Joey Barton.
When compared to certain other entries in the Liverpool-born player's catalogue of misdemeanours, lowering his shorts as he left the pitch at Goodison Park on Saturday only ranks as trivial. It is hardly in the same league as pushing a cigar into the eye of a team-mate, for example.
In isolation, it would simply be seen as a moment of immature silliness. But given Barton's record, and the fact that another City player, Ben Thatcher, is currently serving a long suspension for a forearm smash on Pedro Mendes of Portsmouth, the incident acquires a more serious air. City are beginning to gain a reputation for a serious lack of discipline.
All of which seems rather unfair on their honest and diligent manager. After the match, Pearce was keen to play down the incident as overexuberance, coming less than a minute after City had avoided a fifth successive away defeat.
"I did not see it but if anything did happen we will look at it with an open mind and deal with it," said Pearce. "I pointed out to the policeman that it was probably just over-celebration from Joey after the dramatic end to the game. I told him it was nothing new to me - I see Joey's bum after training every day!"
For almost 94 minutes, Everton had looked well worth a fourth win of the season that would have left them in a Champions' League spot going into the international break. However, David Moyes, their manager, might only have himself to blame for giving City the chance to equalise. After the referee, Andre Marriner, had signalled for three minutes of added time, Moyes made a final substitution. As Sylvain Distin shaped to pump one last ball into the Everton area, Marriner looked at his watch and decided not to blow for full time. A few seconds later, City had scored.
It was hard on Everton, for whom Tim Cahill and Andrew Johnson were again impressive, but at least the former's sixth goal of the season in the first half was enough to protect the club's unbeaten record. "I take it the ref added extra time for the substitution," said Moyes. "He should have blown when the ball went back to the halfway line but he didn't and that cost us the three points."
Nevertheless, 12 months ago Everton were in the bottom three. Surely that was some consolation to Moyes? The best reply he could manage was: "The contrast isn't quite as big as I would have liked it to be."
Goals: Johnson (44) 1-0; Richards (90) 1-1.
Everton (4-4-2): Howard; Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Valente; Arteta (Davies, 89), Carsley, Cahill, Osman; Johnson (Weir, 90), Beattie (Anichebe, 81). Substitutes not used: Wright (gk), Van der Meyde.
Manchester City (4-5-1): Weaver; Richards, Dunne, Distin, Jordan; Sinclair, Barton, Hamann (Reyna, 77), Ireland (Corradi, 57), Miller (Beasley, 66); Samaras. Substitutes not used: Hart (gk), Dickov.
Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands).
Bookings: Everton Cahill Manchester City Barton.
Man of the match: Cahill.
l Macclesfield have sacked their manager, Brian Horton, after a run of poor results. The former Manchester City manager spent two and a half years at Moss Rose but following defeat at Hereford on Saturday he has been relieved of his duties.Reuse content