Burnley 2 Wigan 0
Burnley sealed promotion back to the Premier League with an outstanding victory over FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic at a fever-pitched Turf Moor.
Ashley Barnes finished off a sensational passing move for his first home goal for the Clarets before a stunning Michael Kightly free-kick doubled Burnley’s advantage in a fabulous first-half performance.
And after the break, the Clarets made sure they also kept their 20th clean sheet of the season as they roared back into the top flight on a historical day for the Clarets.
Sean Dyche named an unchanged side for the third consecutive game with Barnes partnering Danny Ings in attack.
Meanwhile, Wigan lined up in a 4-3-3 formation.
Burnley began the match on the front foot looking to press the visitors high up the pitch and win the ball as close to the opposition goal as possible.
However, neither team created a chance nor registered a shot in the opening quarter of an hour.
Kightly was the first Claret to break into the Wigan box, but his ball across the face of goal was cleared away by James Perch on 16 minutes.
Seconds later, Stephen Crainey had to deal with a dangerous cross to the far post by Scott Arfield before David Jones’ delivery from a corner reached the head of Dean Marney at the near stick. The midfielder couldn’t direct the effort on target, though.
However, on 22 minutes, Turf Moor erupted.
In a move that started right at the back, Ings sent Marney through down the channel at the other end with a first-time pass and the Burnley midfielder picked out Barnes, who smashed the ball home from close range on his weaker foot.
The Clarets faithful could now sense the dreamland, with the confidence amongst the crowd transmitting to the players, as Arfield tried an audacious left-foot volley that did not miss the target by much.
On the half-hour mark, Tom Heaton finally had his first save to make as he comfortably held on to a flicked header from the edge of the penalty area.
Shortly afterwards, an out-swinging free-kick from Jordi Gómez was headed against the post by Marc-Antoine Fortuné as the Latics showed signs of reaction to Barnes’ opener.
On 38 minutes, Jones tried to catch Ali Al-Habsi by surprise with a well-struck free-kick, but the Wigan goalkeeper did enough to push the ball behind for a corner.
But what Jones couldn’t do, Kightly certainly did four minutes later!
The wide man’s cross-shot from another free-kick shaved the head of Crainey before whistling in the far corner of the net.
Turf Moor was now bouncing, with Ben Mee seeing his shot on the stroke of half-time turned over by Al-Habsi.
Wigan manager Uwe Rösler made two changes at the break as Rob Kiernan and Callum McManaman replaced Crainey and Gómez at the break.
As a result, the Latics switched to a fluid 3-4-3/5-2-3 system.
However, it was Burnley who registered the first dangerous shot after the restart when Kightly’s long-range effort went just wide of the post.
The visitors began to put more and more pressure of their own, though as they searched for a way back into the game.
On 58 minutes, a misunderstanding between Heaton and Michael Duff saw Fortuné presented with a good chance, but the Clarets goalkeeper smothered his shot.
Moments later, Ings ran away from Emmerson Boyce, but his shot from a tight angle came back off the post.
And straight at the other end, McManaman could see the sight of the goal before a total of three Burnley players closed him down and stopped from pulling the trigger inside the penalty area.
On 64 minutes, Boyce had a header off target, too, although the Clarets still seemed to defend their two-goal lead in a relatively comfortable way.
Al-Habsi saved another well-struck free-kick from Jones midway through the second half.
And Barnes saw his first-time volley test the Wigan goalkeeper again as the match entered its final 15 minutes.
On 83 minutes, Mee made a brilliant last-ditch block to deny McManaman from close range.
And Burnley stood strong at the back right until the final whistle, when wild celebrations sparked a pitch invasion.
The Clarets will start next season in the top-flight of English football for only the second time in 39 years.
They fully deserve the opportunity.
Burnley: Heaton – Trippier (Baird 78), Duff, Shackell, Mee – Kightly, Marney, Jones, Arfield – Ings, Barnes.
Subs: Cisak, Long, Edgar, Wallace, Stanislas, Treacy.
Wigan: Al-Habsi – Perch, Boyce, Barnett, Crainey (Kiernan 46) – Collison, McArthur, Gómez (McManaman 46) – McClean (Maynard 77), Fortuné, Beausejour.
Subs: Carson, Caldwell, Powell, Maloney.
Goals: Barnes 22, Kightly 42
Bookings: Barnes – Fortuné, Perch, Boyce, Collison.
Referee: Mr Keith Stroud
Attendance: 19,125 (1,791)