The 30-year-old forward, who hails from Liverpool, took his season's tally to six goals since his move from Scottish club Motherwell with strikes either side of halftime to end NEC's 10-match winless streak in the league.
But there were anxious moments for the home side after substitute Hakim Ziyech pulled a goal back five minutes from the end with a sublime free kick.
Heerenveen stay ninth, having missed a chance to move level on 18 points with PSV Eindhoven, PEC Zwolle and Ajax Amsterdam who are all a point behind leaders Twente Enschede.
NEC's win takes them off the bottom of the stadnings and up to 16th place in the 18-team league.
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