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Saturday 23 August K.O. 17:30

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Goodison Park | 16th April 2011 15:00

Everton v Blackburn

Everton maintained their pressure on the sides above them in the Premier League with a convincing and straightforward home victory over Blackburn.

The Blues sparked into life in the second half of a contest that had offered little in the opening period - with goals from Leon Osman and Leighton Baines via the penalty spot sealing a thoroughly warranted three points.

The victory moves the Blues to within one point of sixth placed Liverpool with five games of the Premier League campaign remaining.

The one downside from the afternoon for fans of the Blue persuasion was the early departure through injury of Dutch international John Heitinga.

He pulled up on 15 minutes holding his hamstring and was replaced by Jack Rodwell - himself back from a spell on the sidelines after an ankle problem.

Other than wayward efforts from Jermaine Beckford, Phil Neville and Leon Osman, that was the only moment of 'action' in a first-half which will not live long in the memory.

OsmanLeon Osman unleashes the shot which broke the deadlock

The second half was far better and started with much more promise - courtesy of two efforts drilled narrowly over by Magaye Gueye and Osman and a thunderbolt from Leighton Baines that fizzed inches wide.

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov was soon in on the act too as the home side showed increased attackung cut and thrust.

And it was little surprise when, on 54 minutes, Osman lashed a low effort into the bottom corner from 10 yards.

With the volume in the stadium increasing in proportion to the goalscoring chances, it seemed a matter of time before Blackburn's goal would be bulging again.

Gueye fired into the side-netting as the Blues continued to press and, when the French Under-21 international was withdrawn to be replaced by Seamus Coleman with 25 minutes left on the clock, he received a rapturous ovation from the Goodison faithful.

The sub was central in Everton's second goal, showing quick-feet to win a chase for the ball in the penalty area which resulted in a cast-iron penalty when Phil Jones slid into him.

Baines stepped up to smash home his sixth goal of the season.

A mix-up between Jagielka, Tim Howard and Baines with 13 minutes remaining gave sub Morten Gamst Pedersen a tantalising glimpse of goal but he fired wide.

It was a rare moment of worry for an Everton defence that had been untroubled and which performed with composure and quality.

At the other end, Osman and Vellios were unlucky not to convert moves which were a joy to behold. So it remained 2-0 and, with 47 points now racked up for the season, Everton's ambitions of a late surge into the European qualification places are still alive.

The young Frenchman slides in on JonesMagaye Gueye slides in to challenge Phil Jones

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