A first-half double by Leighton Baines swept Everton to a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion, moving the team just a point behind fourth-place Tottenham in the English Premier League.
The England left back smashed a shot into the roof of the net for the opening goal in the 16th minute, then slotted in a penalty on the stroke of halftime after Victor Anichebe was fouled.
''He is turning out to be as good a left-back as there is,'' Everton manager David Moyes said of Baines, who has been one of the Premier League's top players this season.
''He is great for a manager because he wants to keep improving and we are very fortunate to have him here.''
Shane Long pounced on some sloppy defending by Johnny Heitinga in the 65th to pull one back for West Brom, which almost equalised when Graham Dorrans fired a free kick against the goal frame.
Everton, which also hit the post through Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar, is three points clear of sixth-place Arsenal in the fight for the Champions League spots.
Which team will win the 2013/14 Champions League?