A Bas Dost double took his Eredivisie tally to 30 for the season as Heerenveen moved into fourth place with victory in an exciting match away to Heracles Almelo.
Heerenveen also moved level on 61 points with AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord in second and third, although they could slip back to sixth if FC Twente and PSV Eindhoven win their matches in hand on Sunday.
Heracles' own outside hopes of claiming a Europa League play-off place receded further with this defeat, while Heerenveen have now scored 11 times in winning their last three away league games.
The hosts carved out the first opening after 10 minutes when Everton's powerful header was saved by Heerenveen goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt, and two minutes later Dost opened the scoring. Luciano Narsingh's shot was only parried by Heracles goalkeeper Remko Pasveer and Dost was on hand to turn home the rebound.
Nordfeldt was called on to keep out a shot from Samuel Armenteros after he led a Heracles counter-attack, but there was no further score in an end-to-end first half.
Heracles started the second half positively as Thomas Bruns fired over, but Heerenveen doubled their advantage 10 minutes in as Narsingh took possession in a quick breakaway, beat Tim Breukers and gave Pasveer no chance with a shot from inside the box.
The hosts quickly halved the deficit as Kwame Quansah was fouled in the box by Michel Breuer and Willy Overtoom coolly converted the penalty.
Heerenveen restored their two-goal cushion in the 69th minute as Filip Djuricic saw off the attentions of defender Antoine van der Linden before placing a shot beyond Pasveer, but Heracles kept themselves in it as Bruns turned in the second from Everton's 73rd-minute cross.
Dost had the final word in an entertaining game though, latching onto Narsingh's lobbed ball into the box and applying a confident finish.