Everton's European chase stuttered as they played out a poor 0-0 draw with Aston Villa at Villa Park and missed the chance to go sixth in the Premier League table.
Villa defender Tyrone Mings planted a header wide from Douglas Luiz's cross when his dive should have at least tested Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal, before he later survived a VAR red card review for what appeared a studs-up challenge on Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Calvert-Lewin had Everton's clearest chance of the night in the closing minutes, but, having netted a header for the Toffees against Villa in the return fixture 12 days ago, he nodded down and straight at Emiliano Martinez as the visitors failed to claim a late victory.
Three points would have taken Carlo Ancelotti's side up to sixth in the table and inside the European spots, but instead they stay eighth, behind Tottenham and needing other results to go their way if they are to qualify for continental competition.
Aston Villa: Martinez (7), Cash (6), Konsa (6), Mings (6), Targett (6), Luiz (7), McGinn (6), Barkley (5), Traore (5), Davis (5), El Ghazi (6).
Subs: Elmohamady (6), Ramsey (6), Grealish (6).
Everton: Pickford (6), Holgate (7), Keane (7), Godfrey (7), Digne (6), Coleman (6), Doucoure (6), Allan (7), Sigurdsson (6) Calvert-Lewin (6), Richarlison (6).
Subs: Gomes (5), Iwobi (5).
Man of the match: Ben Godfrey
English football's most-played fixture fails to stand out
On paper, Everton looked clear favourites as two sides with better results on the road than on home soil met at Villa Park, but they were just as limp as their hosts in the opening stages with the lack of tempo hurting the creativity of both.
Fittingly, a set-piece provided the one clear-cut chance of the opening period, with Ross Barkley's delivery picked up on the far side by Luiz, who found Mings at the near post - but the stand-in Villa captain could not turn his diving header inside the goal-frame.
Richarlison should also have tested Martinez as Everton found themselves in a rare good position, but he scuffed Allan's pass well wide from 20 yards.
At the break, Sky Sports' Roy Keane called for the swift introduction of Jack Grealish, in the Villa squad for the first time in three months, to inject some life into his side - but he would have to wait for their captain to return.
By the time he did set foot on the pitch, Ben Godfrey had nearly put Everton ahead from Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick but was denied by Martinez at his near post, before Pickford kept out an Anwar El Ghazi set-piece which proved too hot to hold.
Grealish did ignite some spark in the hosts once he emerged from the bench with 20 minutes left but the one clear-cut chance which followed fell to Everton, with Calvert-Lewin wasting a glorious cross from Lucas Digne and allowing Martinez to keep the scores level.
Villa spurned the opportunity to leapfrog Leeds and move into the top 10 with the draw but had less to regret than Everton, who now must hope the sides around them falter in their final three games of the season if they are to make it into Europe.
What the managers said...
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith told Sky Sports: "We controlled the ball well in the first half without creating many clear-cut chances. The second was a little bit scrappy from both teams.
"We never really took the control we wanted into the second half, and I thought they had the better chances. The changes helped us, Jacob Ramsey and Jack Grealish, we looked like we could go and create something, but that was missing today for us."
Everton head coach Carlo Ancelotti told Sky Sports: "We tried to do everything to try to win, we had a good second half, pushed a lot of energy there, the first was more in balance.
"We were unlucky but there's nothing to say for the performance when you do your best. We have three games, we are still in the fight, and we have to try to win them."
Man of the match - Ben Godfrey
In a game of real attrition, Godfrey and Michael Keane did well to keep Villa's often lively front three quiet.
Although Ollie Watkins was sitting out a game for the first time this season, El Ghazi in particular had worried the Toffees' defence at Goodison Park earlier this month, and both centre-backs did a fine job in keeping Pickford's evening quiet.
- This was the 206th league meeting between Aston Villa and Everton (all in the top-flight), extending its record as the most played match in English league history.
- Only 12 days separated the two Premier League games between Aston Villa and Everton this season, the smallest gap between two sides meeting in the competition since a three-day gap between Arsenal's two clashes with Bolton in January 2010.
- Everton have kept four consecutive away clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since August 1995 (a run of five) with the Toffees' haul of nine away shutouts in the top-flight this season a joint-high tally (level with Manchester City).
- Aston Villa have won just one of their last eight home Premier League games (D3 L4) after winning three out of four directly before that.
- Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has enjoyed just one win in his seven Premier League games against Aston Villa (D4 L2), his outright worst win rate against an opponent in the competition (14 per cent, minimum five meetings).
- Emiliano Martínez kept his 15th clean sheet in the Premier League this season, equaling Brad Friedel's record from 2009-10 for the most shutouts kept by an Aston Villa goalkeeper in the competition.
- Aston Villa's Jack Grealish made a sub appearance in a league game for the first time since May 6th 2018 in the Championship, for the Villans against Millwall.
Aston Villa travel to Crystal Palace on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am; Kick-off at 12pm.
Everton host relegated Sheffield United later that day; Kick-off at 7pm.