Premier League - Everton beat hapless Blackburn
Everton plunged Blackburn further into trouble with a 2-0 win in their Premier League encounter at Goodison Park courtesy of goals from Leon Osman and Leighton Baines.
The hosts dominated a first half in which clear-cut chances were scarce, and Blackburn were sluggish from the outset as David Moyes's side dictated the play but could not conjure up a breakthrough until Osman found the back of the net with a deflected strike in the 54th minute.
Everton's pressure was incessant in the second half, and the hosts' lead was doubled by Baines from the penalty spot in the 75th minute after substitute Seamus Coleman was hauled down by Phil Jones as more woe was inflicted upon beleaguered Blackburn boss Steve Kean.
The Toffees, who had taken 14 points from their last six league encounters, were unchanged from the side which thrashed Wolves last week, but Coleman was confined to the bench after recovering from an ankle injury.
Meanwhile, Blackburn, without a win in eight games, handed a start to Ruben Rochina in an attacking berth, and the Spaniard made a powerful run down the left in the opening minute of the match to signal his intent.
But it was Everton who carved out the first real chance of the match in just the second minute: Jermaine Beckford latched on to a flick forward from Magaye Gueye but sliced a wild shot wide of the near post.
Blackburn's defending was sluggish early on as the visitors enabled Everton to enjoy sustained pressure and an abundance of space in the final third, something which had an irate Kean very animated on the touchline.
The returning Jack Rodwell was introduced as early as the 16th minute as David Moyes made an enforced change after Johnny Heitinga pulled his hamstring in midfield, and he proceeded to help dictate the play for the Toffees alongside Phil Neville.
No further clear cut opportunities were mustered by either side in the remainder of the first half as Everton's end product repeatedly let them down in the final third of the field.
Rochina continued to provide glimpses of inspiration for the visitors as he made his full debut after arriving at Ewood Park from Barcelona B, but Everton always looked the more likely to fashion a goal with 60 per cent of the possession in the first half.
Osman was a constant livewire for the hosts, and he raced clear of the Blackburn defence at the start of the second half, only to fire his shot over the crossbar wildly to hand the visitors a reprieve.
The ever-dangerous Magaye Gueye then lashed a ferocious drive from the edge of the Blackburn box, only to see it fizz agonisingly over the crossbar with Paul Robinson at full stretch.
Everton finally and deservedly broke the deadlock in the 54th minute as Osman jinked past Rochina and unleashed a low drive which took a vicious deflection off Christopher Samba and flew beyond Robinson.
The Toffees proceeded to stroke the ball around with consummate ease, and Blackburn were left to chase shadows with the hosts in complete control.
Kean withdrew the ineffectual Roque Santa Cruz after the hour mark as his side looked to exploit Jason Roberts's physical presence in attack, while the excellent Gueye was replaced by the prodigious Coleman.
The Irishman made a near immediate impact as he careered into the Blackburn box and was brought down crudely by Jones and Everton received reward for the ceaseless pressure they exerted in the Rovers half.
After a seemingly interminable delay, Baines was able to step up and lash home the spot kick to double the hosts' lead, and Blackburn left staring at yet another defeat.
In stark contrast to the impact made by Coleman, Kean was left to hang his head in despair as his substitute Pedersen scuffed a close-range shot wide of the near post as the ball broke loose to him inside the Everton box with Tim Howard out of position.
Blackburn have now gone 10 league games without a win and find themselves languishing just above the relegation zone, while Everton's sparkling late-season run sees Moyes's side move just one point shy of Liverpool from seventh spot.