Millwall 0 Burnley 2
Sean Dyche has enjoyed multiple wins with Watford and Northampton Town back at his former club - and the ex-Millwall defender was able to add Burnley to that list thanks to goals from Sam Vokes and Danny Ings which lifted the Clarets up to seventh in the table.
The pair struck either side of the break as they again negated the absence of injured top scorer Charlie Austin to guide Dyche’s in-form side to a fourth win in five Championship games.
Vokes’ third goal of the season and Ings’ second were fitting reward for another top-class away performance as the Clarets climbed above Millwall in the play-off race into their highest position since the opening day of the season.
The win – Burnley’s fifth away from home – could have been more convincing as they passed up good chances to add to Ings’ second-half header.
And having failed to do that the Clarets did live dangerously at times late on.
But with a collective desire not to lose so apparent under Dyche, they dug in to secure a seventh clean sheet in 15 League games under the ‘new’ manager and three more points towards their burgeoning promotion push.
After an early morning pitch inspection had given the game the green light following snow in the capital in the previous 24 hours, the Clarets warmed to their task straight away as they took an early grip on the game.
Chris McCann, restored to the side following a two-game absence with David Edgar moving back to deputise for the injured Michael Duff in the centre of the Clarets’ defence, drove Burnley forward at every opportunity.
Millwall, unbeaten at home since September, were barely given a look-in as Burnley dominated possession.
The visitors’ movement and passing had the Lions hunting shadows and the pressure almost paid off with an opening goal after a quarter of an hour.
Vokes, who was engaged in a battle royal for most of the afternoon with the mountainous figure of Danny Shittu, forced goalkeeper David Forde into a fluffed clearance which the Clarets’ striker retrieved himself.
His cross looked tailor-made for the advancing Dean Marney - who had an outstanding game - to meet but with Ings also sensing an opportunity the pair got in each other’s way to let Millwall off the hook.
It was a reprieve that did not last for long, though, as Vokes got his reward just five minutes later.
Junior Stanislas, whose West Ham past did nothing to endear him to the home supporters, was having a real going day as he caused Millwall full-back Adam Smith a myriad of problems.
And a typically mazy run from the winger after Millwall had failed to clear a corner they claimed should have been given as a throw-in ended with a low cross which the alert Vokes reached first to poke through the legs of Forde.
Dyche couldn’t have asked for more on his return to his old stamping ground but the goal did provoke a response from Millwall who threatened for the first time when James Henry sent a dipping shot onto the roof of the net in the 27th-minute.
And home debutant Martyn Woolford then crossed for Liam Trotter to volley tamely at Lee Grant as Burnley’s position of strength was tested before the break.
That proved to be Woolford’s final contribution as the former Bristol City winger was replaced at the start of the second half by new loan signing Nathan Tyson as boss Kenny Jackett sought an improvement.
And the Lions certainly started the second half on the front foot as they went perilously close to equalising.
Andy Keogh somehow failed to convert a low cross from Henry as he slid in to make contact in the six-yard box and then when another cross flashed across the Clarets’ goal Danny N’Guessan was only inches away from a decisive touch.
But having survived those scares the Clarets played their way back into the game and with almost an hour gone doubled their lead.
Millwall struggled to cope whenever Burnley’s passing game clicked into gear and Ings passed up one chance to score at the end of a peach of a move – mis-kicking from a McCann cross – before he did add the vital second goal.
Again Burnley made progress down their right flank and this time when Kieran Trippier provided the delivery, Ings arrived on cue to head in from six yards after Vokes had caused a diversion at the near post.
The same combination almost produced a third goal with 20 minutes to go when Trippier’s superb ball failed to receive the finish it deserved and with Millwall having to throw men forward they inevitably left gaps at the back.
Keith Treacy, on for the tiring Stanislas, was next to profit but from Ings' delightful through-ball the substitute was unable to beat Irish international colleague Forde.
And those misses may have proved costly if Millwall had been given the encouragement of pulling a goal back, which they twice nearly did within a matter of seconds with a quarter of an hour to go.
Captain Jason Shackell made excellent blocks to deny Trotter in quick succession and then when the ball dropped for Keogh his volley might have squeezed in if Grant hadn’t stuck out an arm to preserve his third successive clean sheet.
But when Edgar, who formed an unbeatable barrier in partnership with Shackell, then headed clear from almost under his own crossbar and Trippier blocked a Trotter shot in front of goal Millwall must have known the game was up as Burnley continued their surge up the table.
Millwall: Forde, J Smith, A Smith, Shittu, Beevers, Trotter, Henry, Woolford (Tyson ht), Keogh, N’Guessan (Marquis 65), Abdou. Subs: Wright, Racon, Osborne, Dunne, M Taylor.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Lafferty, Edgar, Shackell, McCann, Marney, Wallace, Ings (Paterson 90+3), Vokes, Stanislas (Treacy 70). Subs: Bartley, O’Neill, Stock, Anderson, Jensen.
Booked: Vokes 77, Ings 79
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Attendance: 9,384 (579 Burnley)