Huddersfield 2 Burnley 1
Ten-man Burnley’s three-month unbeaten league run came crashing to an end on a miserable day at Huddersfield.
Town failed to make the breakthrough in a dominant opening 45 minutes against Sean Dyche’s side, whose only previous defeat came on the road at Brighton in late August.
But early in the second half a fortuitous strike from Burnley-born Oliver Norwood that crept under Tom Heaton, quickly followed by a dubious penalty converted by James Vaughan, put the Terriers in control.
And despite a late goal from Danny Ings – his 15th of the season – the Clarets’ proud two-month reign as league leaders came to an end.
Burnley were unchanged from the side that picked up a precious point at Nottingham Forest a week earlier.
That again meant a start in midfield for David Edgar, with Dean Marney still recovering from a troublesome groin injury.
But the brighter start came from the hosts, who twice came close to opening the scoring in the opening five minutes.
Burnley fan Oliver Norwood set his sights, but fired just wide from 25 yards before top scorer James Vaughan forced a superb save from Tom Heaton with a blistering volley.
Heaton again denied for former Everton striker in the ninth minute, racing from goal to intercept as Vaughan chested down a diagonal ball and sneaked in behind Kieran Trippier.
The Terriers came even closer to grabbing the breakthrough in the 13th minute.
Applause for young Burnley fan Henry Tattersall, who tragically died earlier this week, had just died down when ex-Clarets Martin Paterson stooped to meet a left wing cross and smack a header off the foot of the post.
Danny Ings had earlier been a whisker away from escaping the shackles of Town’s three-man back line, with only a lunging tackle denying him a clear run on goal.
And the unmarked Clarets striker might have done better midway through the half as he blazed a side-foot volley over the bar from Kieran Trippier’s deep, right wing delivery.
Other than that, it was the home side making all the running and Vaughan again came close with an acrobatic near post attempt from a cushioned header.
And there was a huge let off 11 minutes before the break as Huddersfield again carved open the Clarets down their left.
Norwood got on the end a sweet, first-time move and picked out Vaughan with a perfect cross, only for the striker to blaze over from eight yards with the goal at his mercy.
Thankfully, the Clarets got to the break intact and still on level terms.
And Dyche made two changes at the interval as he tried to wrestle back the upper hand, with Brian Stock and Junior Stanislas replacing Edgar and Kightly.
But within 10 minutes of the restart, the game was up for Burnley.
The Clarets had come close after Stanislas picked out Vokes and the Welshman fired wide.
But it was Town who finally struck with a bolt from the blue in the 50th minute as Norwood took aim from fully 30 yards from a cut-back corner.
Heaton appeared to have the shot covered, but it squirmed past the Clarets’ keeper on the bounce to give the Terriers the lead they deserved.
And four minutes later, there was a double whammy for the Clarets as Town doubled their lead from the spot.
Michael Duff was clearly outside the area – and replays show the ball did not strike his arm – but on the advice of his linesman referee Eddie Ilderton pointed to the spot for hand ball and Vaughan made no mistake from 12 yards.
The Clarets response was immediate and when Vokes teed-up Ings with a neat cushioned header, it took a miraculous save from Smithies to keep out his rising volley.
And seconds later, as Ings appeared to have his heels clipped in the box, Ilderton further angered the visitors by awarding Town a free kick for pushing by the Clarets striker.
Vokes almost took advantage of a defensive error form Town that caused a rumpus in the six-yard box as the Clarets desperately fought for a lifeline.
And even when Burnley thought they had scored, as Vokes slotted home Stanislas’s low cross with 13 minutes remaining, an offside flag immediately cut short all hope of a fightback.
Burnley finally made it a frantic finale six minutes from time when Ings raced clear from Vokes pass to score his 15th of the season.
But despite six minutes of added-on time, it was too little too late - and a red card for last man Michael Duff for bringing down James Vaughan was the last act as the Terriers doggedly hung on for victory.
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Kightly (Stanislas 46), Edgar (Stock 46), Jones, Arfield (Treacy 87), Ings, Vokes.
Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Hewitt.
Booked: Duff 55, Vokes 77
Sent off: Duff 90+5
Huddersfield: Smithies, Lynch, Gerrard, Smith, Dixon, Norwood, Clayton, Hogg, Hammill (Wallace 87), Paterson (Ward 74), Vaughan.
Subs: Bennett, Woods, Scannell, Gobern, Holmes.
Referee: E. Ilderton
Att: 17,930 (3,639)