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Premier League: Everton 2 Blackburn 0

Second-half strikes from Leon Osman and Leighton Baines kept Everton’s faint hopes of Europe alive and plunged Blackburn deeper into relegation trouble.Osman finished emphatically from a short corner in the 55th minute before Baines scored from the spot after Blackburn’s Phil Jones took down Seamus Coleman in the box.

The win closed the gap on rivals Liverpool but saw Blackburn’s awful form continue and leaves Steve Kean’s side just two points above the drop zone.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa, Birmingham and Wigan all won, propelling themselves way from the bottom three.

The first chance came for Everton in the second minute when Blackburn midfielder Jermaine Jones failed to clear a Phil Neville long ball and Jermaine Beckford latched onto the loose ball but sent his volley well over.

The early miss was followed by a woeful first half as both sides cancelled each other out.

In the 16th minute Everton’s injury woes were compounded when John Heitinga hobbled off with a hamstring strain.

The Dutchman’s early exit meant a return for young midfielder Jack Rodwell.

Everton almost created a chance in the 32nd minute but Phil Jagielka’s searching cross was just out of reach for Magaye Gueye at the far post.

Seconds later, after some neat passing by Everton at the edge of the area, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov laid off a waiting Neville but his shot flashed over.

Debutant Gueye then fired a blistering shot from the edge of the penalty area, which went inches too high and Leighton Baines missed from the same spot moments later, this time with a low hit that swung wide.

Everton were finally able to break the deadlock in the 54th minute after a short corner to Osman, who drifted past Ruben Rochina before firing into the far corner.

In the 75th minute Blackburn’s Phil Jones brought down Seamus Coleman in front of goal and Baines made no mistake with the spot-kick.

Blackburn’s best chance came soon after when Baines’ attempt to clear a high ball hit the back of his head and landed at Morten Gamst Pedersen’s feet.

But the Norwegian, with just the keeper to beat from eight yards, fired wide.

Article title: Premier League: Everton 2 Blackburn 0

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