HEERENVEEN, January 22 (Eredivisie) - Heerenveen resumed their Eredivisie campaign on Saturday with three points against strugglers Den Bosch helping them retain their top-five status.
Gert Jan Verbeek's outfit returned from the winter break looking to continue their push for a place in Europe next season, and goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Georgios Samaras gave the hosts what looked to be a comfortable advantage.
Marcel Cas' strike for Den Bosch then set the alarming bells ringing, but Heerenveen held on to leave their opponents still just one point and one place off the foot of the table.
The hosts made a sluggish start but capitalised on their first real chance of the game when a clever through-ball from Petter Hansson released Huntelaar, who opened the scoring with a low shot into the bottom corner.
Den Bosch's reply to the goal was a powerful shot from Jochen Janssen two minutes later, which was only kept out by the quick-thinking of Heerenveen keeper Brian Vandenbussche with a stunning save.
And a minute before the interval, Vandenbussche was again called upon to prevent an equaliser with Janssen still trying his luck from distance.
Having weathered the Den Bosch storm, Heerenveen came out with greater intent after the break and Yildirim almost added a second for the home side firing Denis Calincov's cross just wide of the post.
And Yildirim again gave the visitors cause for concern with a fierce shot which was cleared off the line by Den Bosch defender Steve Olfers.
The Turkish striker was proving to be a handful for the Den Bosch back-line and after 54 minutes luck once more deserted him as he struck the ball narrowly past the post.
Having enjoyed all of the play in the second half, Heerenveen finally had something to show for it in the 60th minute, with Yildirim unsurprisingly providing the ball for substitute Samaras to fire home just two minutes after coming onto the pitch.
Den Bosch eventually got themselves on the scoresheet after 71 minutes, with Cas rounding keeper Vandenbussche to give his side hope.
However, it was a case of too little too late for the visitors, who were unable to stave off their 13th defeat of the season.