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17:04 6th April 2012


Charlie Austin's fourth goal in a week was enough for the Clarets to secure their first home win in five attempts as Brighton again found the Lancashire air not to their liking.

The Seagulls' only league defeat since the turn of the year had, ironically, come at Blackpool last month.

And with no reply to Austin's 23rd-minute goal their play-off hopes took a further blow as Burnley stood up to a serious test of temperament to make the perfect start to their Easter weekend.

Austin had been on target the last time the Clarets won at Turf Moor, against Barnsley in the middle of February.

And in the continued absence of leading scorer Jay Rodriguez, the 22-year-old delivered the good again to move to 15 goals for the season.

With Austin and Danny Ings again combining well and Junior Stanislas' impressive mid-week cameo in defeat against Birmingham earning the wingman a re-call, the attack-minded Clarets made an enterprising start.

Marvin Bartley's afternoon ends early

Brighton, with former Spanish international Vicente Rodriguez pulling the strings, were no slouches either as both sides went for it from the off.

There was initially no hangover from the bad tempered clash on the south coast in December when the Seagulls had two players sent off in the opening 12 minutes, although Marvin Bartley did go into the book early on for catching Alan Navarro with a late tackle.

Bartley's afternoon lasted only 30 minutes as he limped off to be replaced by Dean Marney, by which time the Clarets were in front.

Austin and Ings were a real handful for the Albion defence and after Ings had gone close it was Austin who drew first blood.

The striker's initial volley from Josh McQuoid's cross was blocked by Adam El-Abd but Austin kept his composure to roll the loose ball across the six-yard line and bury a left-foot shot into the corner.

Josh McQuoid goes close

Austin had another sighter of goal with half an hour gone after Stanislas had launched another dangerous counter-attack but this time he was unable to get a shot off.

And despite a series of well-worked moves, with Ross Wallace and Keiran Trippier marauding forward from their full-back berths to join in at every opportunity, the Clarets couldn't force a second goal before the break with a glancing header from McQuoid the nearest they came.

Brighton never stopped trying to play their way back to parity but a long-range effort from Rodriguez and a header from former Clarets' loanee Sam Vokes, which dropped just wide of the post in first-half stoppage time, were the best they could muster.

Vokes remained a presence, however, and when his lay-off two minutes into the second half teed up Craig Mackail-Smith, Lee Grant had to be alert to make a sharp save and preserve Burnley's advantage.

Charlie Austin bags the winner

Vokes then had a heading chance which should have produced better but the Clarets remained a threat themselves with Ings almost getting on the end of a Stanislas cross and Trippier sending a long-range drive whistling just wide.

Brighton boss Gus Poyet made a double change with half an hour to go to try and force an equaliser and top scorer Ashley Barnes, on for Vokes, could have provided one with his first touch but from Joe Mattock's low cross he lifted a first-time shot over the bar.

The Clarets were prepared to tough it out, though, in an increasingly niggly half which began to show echoes of the pre-Christmas pantomime at the Amex Stadium.

And they could have killed the game off with 13 minutes to go but failed to make the most of a four-two advantage on the break which ended with Austin scuffing a shot wide.

A blow to the hip ended Austin's shift five minutes early but his departure gave 18-year-old midfielder Steven Hewitt the chance to make a senior debut and help the Clarets close out the win.

First appearance for Stevie Hewitt

With overworked referee Carl Boyeson adding on six minutes of injury time Brighton had one last chance to nick a point but El-Abd's header was comfortably saved by Grant, whose clean sheet was a deserved reward for the Clarets' defensive unit.

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Wallace, McCann, Bartley (Marney 30), Stanislas, Austin (Hewitt 86), Ings, McQuoid. Subs: Fletcher, McCartan, Jensen.

Booked: Bartley 12, McCann 31, Ings 67, Edgar 90, Grant

Brighton: Brezovan, Calderon, Mattock (Noone 69), Greer, El-Abid, Navarro, Rodriguez, Dicker, Vokes (Barnes 60), Mackail-Smith, Reyes (Buckley 60). Subs: Barnes, Noone, Lua Lua, Ankergren.

Booked: Noone 88, Rodriguez 90

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 13,156

    Data provided by Press Association