Rovers Under-23s' four-match unbeaten run came to an end, as they lost 2-0 away to Everton in Premier League 2.
First-half goals from Bassala Sambou and Fraser Hornby secured the victory for the Toffees, who moved four points clear at the top of the table.
The positive for Rovers was the return of Harry Chapman, who came through 57 minutes, whilst Jacob Davenport got 79 minutes under his belt.
Ahead of the game, Damien Johnson named a strong starting line-up, with January signing Chapman making his first outing since his Rovers return.
The winger was joined in the starting XI by Joe Nuttall and Davenport, who is edging closer to full fitness after a season plagued by injury.
After a tentative opening, Rovers twice went close to breaking the deadlock in quick succession.
On nine minutes, Chapman slipped a lovely ball through to Nuttall, who took the shot early, but Mateusz Hewelt made an impressive one-handed save.
Less than a minute later, a long Rovers throw was cleared as far as John Buckley, whose low 25-yard drive forced another smart save from the Everton keeper.
Against the run of play, Everton took the lead on 18 minutes. Tyler Magloire was caught in possession by Hornby, who fed Sambou, who smashed an unstoppable 20-yard shot into the top left corner.
It was almost 2-0 moments later, as Brendan Galloway found Sambou in the area, but after cutting inside onto his left foot, he was denied by Charlie Albinson in the Rovers goal.
Straight down the other end, Chapman fed Butterworth to his right, but his deflected strike was well saved by Hewelt.
The hosts doubled their lead on the half-hour mark. Albinson could only parry Anthony Gordon's initial shot and Hornby was on hand to stab home the rebound.
It was almost 3-0 on 36 minutes, as Hornby collected the ball in the area and got his show away, but Albinson made a superb low save.
Rovers threatened right at the end of the first half, as Davenport's dangerous corner had to be headed over his own bar by Hornby, before Butterworth's low long-range drive was well held by Hewelt.
After a slow start to the second half, the game sprang to life just before the hour mark.
Stefan Mols - on for Chapman - delivered a cross from the right which found Nuttall in acres of space in the box. After his shot was blocked, the ball fell to Joe Rankin-Costello, who was superbly denied by Hewelt.
Straight down the other end, Sambou found himself clean through on goal, but as he looked to round Albinson, the Rovers keeper made an equally impressive intervention.
Few chances followed, with Nathan Broadhead trying his luck from long range on 78 minutes, but Albinson was happy to watch the shot sail over his bar.
On 82 minutes, Butterworth's cross-shot from the left corner of the area grazed the top of the bar.
Moments later, Rankin-Costello had the ball in the back of the Everton net, but he was denied by the linesman's flag.
Everton saw out the five added minutes with relative ease, to cement their place at the top of the PL2 table.
Rovers are in next in action on Monday February 25th when they take on Doncaster Rovers in their final group game of the Premier League Cup.
EVERTON: Hewelt, Astley, Galloway, Markelo, Feeney (Ouzounidis 68), Gibson (Denny 84), Gordon (Foulds 76), Adeniran, Hornby, Sambou, Broadhead.
Subs not used: Hilton, Mampala.
Goals: Sambou (18), Hornby (30).
ROVERS: Albinson, C. Doyle, Magloire, Carter, Rankin-Costello, Thompson, Davenport (Vale 79), Buckley, Butterworth, Chapman (Mols 57), Nuttall.
Subs not used: Winterbottom, Annesley, Saadi.
Booked: Chapman, Rankin-Costello.