BURNLEY one again proved to be Derby’s hoodoo side with a stunning victory at Pride Park.
The Clarets chalked up a fourth straight win on Rams’ territory thanks to a stunning opener from Danny Ings and further goals from Sam Vokes and former County skipper Jason Shackell.
And Derby must have known their winless streak against the Clarets would be extended to nine games when recalled keeper Tom Heaton brilliantly saved a controversial Johnny Russell penalty while the visitors were two goals ahead.
But that was the only meaningful save Heaton had to make on a day when Burnley once again enjoyed an away day in the East Midlands.
Manager Sean Dyche made two changes to the side that beat Preston in midweek.
As expected, Heaton returned in goal and Dean Marney was preferred to David Edgar in midfield.
And the Burnley engine room was immediately put to the test as Derby started brightly
However, it was Burnley who soon assumed control of the contest.
Ings fired a warning in the seventh minute when Dean Marney headed Lee Grant’s clearance back upfield to the striker, who took one touch and instinctively volleyed the ball over the retreating keeper, but narrowly wide.
Ben Mee soon headed Keith Treacy’s left wing free kick just wide as Burnley settled into the game.
And it was third time lucky in the unlucky 13th minute when Ings struck with a magnificent solo effort to give the visitors the lead.
Treacy’s neat flick put the in-form striker on the front foot in the centre circle and Ings raced effortlessly past the flat-footed defence before flicking home a nonchalant finish past Grant with the outside of the foot.
The goal rocked Derby and Marney smelt blood as he tested Grant with a drive from distance in the 25th minute.
But just after the half hour, Burnley did double their lead – and again Ings was at the heart of the move.
His persistence in winning two 50/50 balls allowed the striker to release Trippier down the right.
And from the full back’s deep cross, Ings’ presence forced a poor defensive header back across goal that Vokes converted with the help of a Derby defender.
The Rams had hardly troubled Heaton, but following three lucky bounces the ball eventually fell kindly to Johnny Russell, who fired wide from eight yards to the relief of the Clarets defence.
And on the stroke of half time striker Chris Martin wasted the hosts’ best chance when he skied a knock-down in the six-yard box.
There was another lucky escape for the Clarets six minutes into the second half.
Trippier looked to cushion a header back to Heaton when a clearance upfield from Michael Duff looked the better option.
Russell was on the weak back pass in a flash, but fired into the side netting as he went for the near post with just Heaton to beat.
And in the 64th minute, Russell was again the culprit as he spurned a golden chance to get the Rams back into the game from the penalty spot.
The Clarets simply could not believe it as referee Andrew Madley gave the award, despite Shackell clearly winning the ball at full stretch to deny Martin a shot at goal.
But when the protests predictably fell on deaf ears, it was left to Heaton to restore justice with a magnificent save to deny Russell from the spot.
And suddenly the Clarets were resurgent.
Grant made a magnificent point-blank save to deny Vokes as the big striker seemed destined to convert Treacy’s low cross.
But from the winger’s resulting corner, a flick-on fell to Shackell wide of goal on the left – and the Burnley skipper rifle home an unstoppable angled volley back into the far corner.
Burnley were in dreamland and Ings had a fourth goal chalked off for offside after substitute Junior Stanislas slipped him clear in the left channel.
But by then the Clarets had done more than enough to earn another three points and extend their run to just one defeat in 10 league and cup games.
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee, Treacy (Stanislas 74), Marney, Jones (Edgar 80), Arfield, Ings, Vokes
Subs: Cisak, Long, Lafferty, Stock, Noble
Booked: Jones 24, Mee 65
Derby: Grant, Freeman (Smith 46), Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Coutts (Davies 67), Bryson, Hughes, Ward, Martin, Russell (Sammon)
Subs: Legzdins, Jacobs, Eustace, Bennett
Referee: A Madley