Charlton Athletic 0 Burnley 1
Charlie Austin’s stunning strike got Burnley back in business as they ground out a first win in seven games to start climbing back up the Championship.
With Austin off the boil the Clarets’ campaign had stalled, but with form temporary and class permanent the striker emerged from his barren spell to fire Sean Dyche’s men back into the top half of the table and above neighbours Blackburn Rovers.
And the leading scorer could not have found a more spectacular way to do it than a long-range rocket two minutes before half time which will go down as a leading contender for goal of the season.
Austin’s 25th-goal of the season – and second of an injury-hit start to 2013 – gave Burnley just the tonic they needed and allied to a heroic defensive display provided exactly the response needed after the mid-week disappointment against Huddersfield Town.
The loan signing and performance of Fulham midfielder Alex Kacaniklic gave further cause for optimism.
And with the Sweden international given an immediate debut the Clarets started with an entirely new midfield as Marvin Bartley and David Edgar replaced the injured duo of Dean Marney and Chris McCann and Junior Stanislas also earned a recall.
The deployment of Stanislas on the right wing with Kacaniklic – who met his new team-mates for the first time on Friday night – on the left came as Dyche switched to something akin to a midfield diamond.
Alex Kacaniklic made an impressive debut
And that allowed Paterson to return to starting duty in a more favoured central striking role as a partner for Charlie Austin.
The Northern Ireland international always looks more comfortable in that role and his mood would have improved even further if his 12th-minute effort had been allowed to stand as he ran onto a Stanislas pass to fire home from what most have been a very borderline offside position.
That early thrust reflected Burnley’s bright start in which Paterson also shot over from outside the penalty area and Austin met a deep Kieran Trippier cross with a header which would have been hard pressed to have beaten goalkeeper David Button from a tight angle.
With the worst home record in the Championship, Charlton’s threat was largely restricted to set-pieces.
And after Lee Grant had punched away a Danny Haynes header, defender Michael Morrison should have done better when Dorian Dervite nodded the ball into his path as Burnley’s back line temporarily went AWOL.
Martin Paterson was unlucky to have an early 'goal' disallowed
But even on a poor playing surface largely devoid of grass, the Clarets regained the initiative with some decent possession football with the outstanding Edgar often at the heart of it.
Kacaniklic showed flashes of his ability with a couple of teasing crosses from the left and then when the Sweden international switched wings to work a short corner with Stanislas, he fired in a fierce drive which had Button diving to his right to save.
Stanislas then slipped in Austin for a shot which was deflected just wide by defender Lawrie Wilson but if the Clarets’ top scorer should have done better then, there was no mistaking the quality of the strike which ended the Clarets’ goal drought just before the break.
Burnley’s wait for a goal was approaching 350 minutes when Austin collected the ball from Danny Lafferty 30 yards, cut inside onto his right foot and crashed the ball across Button and into the top corner to record his fourth goal at one of his happiest hunting grounds.
A half-time lead was no more than the Clarets deserved, although they lived dangerously straight from the re-start as Bradley Pritchard dragged a shot wide and from the corner – erroneously awarded – Jonathan Obika just failed to get a toe end on a bouncing ball in front of goal.
Ricardo Fuller then steered a shot over the top as the Addicks tried to muster a response and avoid an eighth home defeat of the season.
Charlie Austin and Marvin Bartley celebrate the winner
Charlton’s fragile confidence left them vulnerable at the other end with the increasingly impressive Kacaniklic breaking dangerously from midfield and when Button spilled a cross from Trippier, Austin almost pounced.
But with a solitary goal lead the Clarets were never entirely comfortable and it took a fine save from Grant to keep out a Haynes header from Wilson’s cross before home boss Chris Powell made a double substitution with just under half an hour to go to try and force the issue.
Dyche sent on fresh legs for Burnley ten minutes later, Danny Ings replacing Junior Stanislas with Paterson moving back out wide as the Clarets stocked up their midfield in a bid to stem the flow which was now all with Charlton.
But it was becoming increasingly desperate stuff and with 12 minutes to go the Addicks came the closest yet to levelling as Haynes flicked on a corner and Morrison just failed to make contact at full stretch as the ball dropped just beyond the far post.
Pouring men forward Charlton then bombarded Burnley’s penalty area in the closing minutes.
But with every Claret standing firm and defending superbly, they were never given a clear sight of goal as Dyche’s men held out to record a near priceless victory in front of close to 1,000 delighted travelling supporters.
David Edgar leads the celebrations
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Lafferty, Long, Shackell, Stanislas (Ings 72), Kacaniklic (Stock 88), Bartley, Edgar, Paterson, Austin (Vokes 84). Subs: O’Neill, Mills, Treacy, Jensen.
Booked: Austin 64, Lafferty 73, Vokes 85, Paterson 90+4
Charlton: Button, Morrison, Cort, Pritchard, Wiggins, Jackson, Wilson, Obika (Green 63), Fuller, Haynes, Dervite (Harriott 63). Subs: Taylor, Hughes, Wagstaff, Green, Evina, Hamer.
Referee: Simon Hooper
Attendance: 20,065 (Burnley 921)