Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar fired Everton to their seventh successive Barclays Premier League home win after a strong second-half showing in a 2-0 victory 10-man Bolton.
Arteta broke the Goodison Park deadlock after 72 minutes with a stunning free-kick after last man Gretar Steinsson was sent off for bundling Yakubu over.
Pienaar then wrapped up victory in the dying moments by side-footing into an empty net after good work from Leon Osman, who had hit the bar seconds earlier.
Victory maintained Everton's late push for Europe while Bolton, after a run of three wins in four games prior to their trip to Merseyside, still have work to do to avoid relegation.
Both sides, having come into the game in good form, opted for unchanged teams but Everton were forced into an alteration after just 13 minutes.
Victor Anichebe, who only returned to action in January after almost a year out with a knee injury, crumpled up in pain after a challenge by Paul Robinson and could not continue.
By then the forward, who was playing out on the right wing, had already spurned one of the best opportunities of a scrappy first half.
Anichebe was played in on goal by a superb through-ball from Tim Cahill but took too long to shoot as he charged into the area and Robinson slid across to tackle.
A goal would have been a double blow for Bolton having been denied a penalty moments earlier.
Johan Elmander had a shot blocked after Steinsson lobbed a free-kick into the area and Kevin Davies' follow-up appeared to catch the arm of John Heitinga, but referee Alan Wiley gave nothing.
Bolton caused more problems from another free-kick but Zat Knight was unable to make firm contact with Lee Chung-yong's cross and Tim Howard saved comfortably.
Cahill was then booked for a bad challenge on Jack Wilshere and Everton struggled to clear the resulting set-piece as Phil Jagielka headed unconvincingly over his own bar.
Elmander won another free-kick after being tripped by Phil Neville, making his 200th Everton appearance, 30 yards out.
Davies was unable to make the most of the opportunity, shooting tamely at Howard.
Everton's supporters called for a penalty after Leighton Baines went down under a Lee challenge but the player himself was quickly on his feet and Wiley was unmoved.
Bolton replied with a couple of good attacking moves.
The first ended with Tamir Cohen firing narrowly over after Davies' cross was headed in his direction by Baines.
A slick break involving Elmander and Lee then saw Wilshere play Davies through with a neat backheel but the Bolton skipper again shot at Howard.
The tone of the game changed in the second half as Everton stepped up the pressure.
Pienaar had a volley blocked by Steinsson and Yakubu's effort on the rebound was grabbed by Jussi Jaaskelainen after a deflection.
Heitinga also tested Jaaskelainen from long range before Cahill appeared to nudge the ball past the goalkeeper to create another opening, but the Australian had handled.
Cahill was withdrawn soon after the hour as Everton opted to switch to 4-4-2 and introduce fit-again top scorer Louis Saha.
The Merseysiders maintained the momentum and felt Knight had handled in attempting to chest back a Baines cross to Jaaskelainen but again Wiley saw nothing untoward.
Jagielka went close after 68 minutes as he rose to meet an Arteta free-kick with a firm header but Jaaskelainen saved well.
Bolton were struggling to cope with Everton's increased vitality and Steinsson was given his marching orders a minute later.
The visitors could have few complaints either as last man Steinsson - the third Bolton player sent off in four games - hauled Yakubu down as he raced clear from a Pienaar pass.
Arteta stepped up to double the punishment by curling a sweet strike over the wall.
At that moment there seemed little way back for Bolton, but remarkably they could have equalised almost immediately as Knight put a free header over from a Davies flick-on.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov then headed over from an Arteta cross at the other end and Saha shot straight at Jaaskelainen as Everton looked to kill off the game.
Substitute Osman then rattled the woodwork after Jaaskelainen parried a Heitinga shot but the Toffees were not to be denied a second.
Osman weaved his way into the area with two minutes remaining and pulled the ball back to present Pienaar with a simple finish.
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