Burnley 2 Derby County 0
Charlie Austin’s customary goal against the Rams and a welcome portion of Boxing Day plum Duff got the Clarets back to winning ways as they climbed back towards the top half of the Championship.
If Austin and Burnley could have hand-picked opponents to face in their quest for a first win in six games it would probably have been Derby.
And sure enough County were put to the sword for the fifth time in the last six meetings as Dyche’s men eased to a comfortable win with Austin following his second successive double at Pride Park in September with his 23rd-goal of the season.
His first-half opener, helped in with a handy deflection, was also his 20th Championship goal of the campaign as he became the first Claret since Andy Payton in 2000 to reach the landmark.
Nearer the other end of the scoring scale comes Michael Duff but his 74th-minute headed goal, his first since April 2011, was just as important as the long-serving defender, outstanding all afternoon in nullifying a limited Derby side, killed off any prospect of a fightback as the Clarets kicked off the second-half of the season in perfect style.
The return of the fit-again Danny Lafferty was the Clarets’ only change from the side that kicked off the holiday programme with a draw at Birmingham as the Northern Ireland international went on to enjoy his first League win as a Burnley player.
And there was little different from last Saturday’s performance in the opening stages.
As at St Andrew’s the Clarets should have gone ahead early on but again they failed to take a clear-cut chance in the opening minutes.
Once more Martin Paterson was the man on the spot but from a superb Danny Ings pass in behind the defence he was unable to beat County keeper Adam Legzdins, who got enough on the ball to help it over the bar as he raced out to meet the Clarets’ frontman.
Paterson then turned provider with an overhead pass to Chris McCann as the Irishman broke from midfield.
But McCann’s goalbound shot was blocked and Burnley’s early promise began to fade as County were happy to camp in behind the ball and look to break in support of lone striker Conor Sammon.
Despite the Clarets’ efforts to force the pace it made for pretty drab festive fair with Paul Coutts received a ticking off from referee Andy Haines for time-wasting as Derby made their intentions clear.
But the Rams’ hopes of hanging on until at least the break disappeared with six minutes of the first half to go when Austin struck to break the stalemate.
Dangerous crosses from Lafferty and Kieran Trippier in quick succession had the visitors stretched and when the latter led to a corner the Clarets forced the break-through.
The initial delivery was cleared but from Trippier’s low cross back in, Austin swivelled to fire into the bottom corner with the aid of a deflection off Richard Keogh from 15 yards out.
It was Austin’s fifth goal in four games against the Rams and just what the Clarets needed as they sought to break a spell of four draws in their last five games.
A chance for Ross Wallace three minutes after the re-start could have made victory more straightforward but after being sent clear by Austin’s clearance his left-foot effort, under pressure from a couple of defenders, went wide of the target.
An electric run from Ings then promised better and having survived those two scares Derby finally began to make their presence felt as they sensed the chance to get back into the game.
And with an hour gone they were only the width of a post from getting level.
Wonderkid Will Hughes had made a limited impact but when he drove forward and played in Michael Jacobs it took a full-length save from former County keeper Lee Grant to keep out Jacobs’ low drive.
Even then the ball fell kindly for Coutts but the former Preston man thumped his angled shot against the outside of the post as Burnley’s lead stayed intact.
Derby boss Nigel Clough pepped up his attack with the introduction of Nathan Tyson and Theo Robinson in an effort to turn increased possession into a goal, while Dyche, having replaced the tiring Austin, countered with by sending on Brian Stock to help further anchor the Clarets’ midfield.
But when the next goal came it arrived from an unlikely source as Duff eased the pressure by connecting with a Wallace corner to head home on the run only his seventh goal in a Burnley shirt.
With the points in the bag Vokes almost forced a third, beating Legzdins to an up-and-under and teeing up Keith Treacy for a shot that was blocked.
And McCann and a combination of Vokes and Dean Marney were also close to adding to the tally in the closing stages as the Clarets cruised over the line to secure a sixth home success of the campaign.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Lafferty, Duff, Shackell, Marney, McCann, Ings (Stock 73), Paterson (Treacy 63), Austin (Vokes 68), Wallace. Subs: Mills, Bartley, Edgar, Jensen.
Booked: Wallace 18, McCann 47, Treacy 82, Grant 88
Derby: Legzdins, Brayford, Keogh, O’Brien (O’Connor 83), Roberts, Coutts, Hendrick, Bryson (Tyson 65), Jacobs, Sammon (Robinson 72), Hughes. Subs: Davies, Freeman, Doyle, O’Connor, Fielding.
Booked: Robinson 80
Referee: Andy Haines