Gary Megson had all the figures at his disposal, reeling off the fact that his side boasted more shots, a greater number of crosses and the lion's share of possession. Almost as an afterthought, he mentioned the one statistic that really counted.
"We know that the only stat that matters is the one for goal-scoring," the Bolton manager conceded, after his desperately out-of-touch side were undone by a goal from Everton's record signing Marouane Fellaini, which arrived with barely 20 seconds of regulation time remaining and gave the hosts no time to mount a response.
Bolton, thanks in the main to having scored just six goals in their last 10 games, remain in the bottom three. They are without a home win since the opening day victory over Stoke City and on this showing they appear destined for more of the same following last season's near brush with relegation.
Megson, whose side were jeered off at the end by their frustrated supporters, admitted: "We're obviously in trouble and we need to start winning games but we'll do that by everybody sticking together."
Matt Taylor went close with near post efforts either side of the break, but Bolton looked woefully short of confidence, and were otherwise restricted to speculative long-range efforts at Tim Howard's goal. Megson added: "We played some good stuff at times and if we'd drawn we'd have been a bit disappointed, so to lose is really a bitter disappointment."
Everton appeared to be satisfied with a point from a turgid affair courtesy of a first clean sheet since April, until Fellaini found himself unmarked six yards out to head in an inviting cross from Steven Pienaar. "Giving away a free header like that in the last few seconds of a game is criminal," Megson admitted.
A first Premier League win for six weeks was a welcome relief for David Moyes, though the Everton manager revealed he had settled for a share of the spoils from an error-strewn game. "The game was littered with mistakes and I didn't see the goal coming," he said.
Bolton's energetic start soon petered out as Everton began to assert themselves after weathering the early storm in squalid weather conditions at the Reebok.
After Louis Saha had an effort correctly ruled for an infringement in the build-up by his fellow striker Ayegbeni Yakubu, Fellaini spurned the clearest early opening, heading over when easily out-jumping defender Gretar Steinsson to Phil Neville's searching cross into the six yard box.
Fellaini, 20, is quickly acclimatising to the Premier League following his £15m arrival in August, as a third goal in four games testifies. "We've signed an up and coming star of the future," Moyes insisted. "He's carrying us along right now with his goals from midfield so we've got to give him a lot of credit for what he's doing right now."
Goal: Fellaini (90) 0-1.
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, G Cahill, O'Brien, Samuel; Riga, Nolan, Muamba, Taylor; Davies, Elmander. Subsitutes not used: Al Habsi (gk), Hunt, Smolarek, Gardner, Helguson, Shittu, Cohen.
Everton (4-4-2): Howard; Neville, Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott; Arteta (Rodwell, 90), Fellaini, Osman, Pienaar; Yakubu (T Cahill, 63), Saha (Anichebe, 83). Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Hibbert, Baines, Vaughan.
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Bookings: Bolton Samuel; Everton Lescott, Fellaini.
Man of the match: Jagielka.
Attendance: 21, 692.Reuse content