London - Goals either side of half-time from Darron Gibson and Victor Anichebe gave Everton a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers and lifted David Moyes' side within four points of Champions League football.
The West Londoners desperately needed a result to keep their flickering hopes of avoiding the drop alive but were undone by two pieces of clinical finishing.
Everton now stand sixth on 55 points with Arsenal, who won 3-1 at home to Norwich, on 59 and idle Tottenham on 58 points with six matches to play.
QPR, meanwhile, are seven points from safety with just five matches left.
Everton took the lead five minutes before the break when Irish international midfielder Gibson fired home past Brazilian 'keeper Julio Cesar after being set up by Belgian forward Kevin Mirallas.
Anichebe then gave Harry Redknapp's side a monumental task to salvage something from the match with a close range finish on 56 minutes that extended the home side's unbeaten run to five games.
QPR came into the match with just four wins all season and likely needing to win four of their last six matches to have a chance of avoiding the drop.
Everton meanwhile were riding a four match unbeaten run and victorious in their last three at Goodison Park as they welcomed back South African playmaker Steven Pienaar and Belgian international Marouane Fellaini following suspension.
Their previous meeting this season finished 1-1 at Loftus Road with a pair of own-goals and Everton picking up maximum points against the Londoners on only two of their last 11 encounters.
Everton had the bulk of first half possession but QPR created the better scoring opportunities with French striker Loic Remy their danger man in a tight opening 45 minutes.
The home side then drew first blood with Gibson's goal just before the interval and when Anichebe added some insurance 11 minutes after the restart, the outcome became inevitable.
Everton now travel to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday for a crunch clash against Arsenal while QPR are next in action at home to Stoke on Saturday.