Everton 2 Burnley 0
Everton ended a run of seven Premier League matches without a victory thanks to two goals in the closing minutes against 10-man Burnley at Goodison Park.
The first came from youngster James Vaughan, scoring within seconds of coming on as a substitute.
Vaughan has suffered terrible injury problems over the last three years, and this was his first goal for two years.
The second came from Steven Pienaar, Everton’s best player, as the gloom finally lifted on the blue half of Merseyside.
Burnley had defender Stephen Jordan sent off with half an hour left, and that decision swung the game Everton’s way and left the visitors still without an away league win this season and deep in relegation trouble.
Everton made one change for from the side that drew at Sunderland on Boxing Day, with striker Ayegbeni Yakubu taking over up front from Louis Saha.
Burnley, who arrived without a victory in eight games, were unchanged from the side who drew with Bolton at the weekend.
Everton started brightly, Leon Osman wasting an early chance following Yakubu’s pull back from the line.
Then the big Nigerian saw a fierce shot cannon away off Michael Duff’s arm, with referee Howard Webb refusing loud penalty appeals.
Burnley’s best chance early on was when David Nugent fired into the side netting after a poor header from Lucas Neill dropped at his feet.
Then Tim Howard had to beat away a powerful drive from the edge of the box by Steven Fletcher before the Everton keeper had to equally athletic to turn away a drive from Wade Elliott.
Brian Jensen saved well when Diniyar Bilyaletdinov created space neatly for himself following a fine Pienaar pass.
But the best chance of the half came when Yakubu clipped a post following a Leighton Baines cross.
The second period started with Kevin McDonald firing wide of the far post following a Chris Eagles run, before Andre Bikey was booked following minimal contact with Yakubu.
Johnny Heitinga fired the free-kick through the wall, only for Jensen to field safely.
After 57 minutes Nugent caught Everton cold, the home side believing he was offside, to crack a shot on the turn against the far post.
Everton’s problems increased when Tim Cahill limped off after 58 minutes, allowing Phil Neville to return to the side for the first time since September following a cruciate knee ligament injury.
Two minutes later Burnley were down to 10 men when Jordan picked up a second yellow card for pulling back Pienaar.
That caused boss Owen Coyle to sacrifice a striker, Nugent, to allow Christian Kalvenes to come on as substitute to fill the left-back slot.
Graham Alexander had a decent shout for a penalty turned down when his driven cross crashed into Neill’s arm as he threw his body in the way.
Duff was booked after 69 minutes for bringing down Bilyaletdinov in full flow.
With nine minutes left Burnley sent on Steven Thompson to replace Fletcher up front, while Everton put on Vaughan in place of Bilyaletdinov.
And the change paid off inside a minute when Vaughan fired in from close range after a left-wing cross had eluded Yakubu.
The Birmingham-born striker was making only his third substitute appearance of another injury-plagued season.
Burnley then sent on Robbie Blake for Elliott, and had Tyrone Mears booked in the final minutes for a foul on Pienaar.
But there was still time for Pienaar to take a pass from Yakubu in the final minute to blast home the second.