Charlton 0 Burnley 3
Burnley stretched their unbeaten run in the Championship to 15 games as they put Charlton to the sword in a comprehensive win at The Valley.
Ashley Barnes scored his first goal for the Clarets before a Sam Vokes penalty and a late Michael Kightly strike sealed the game and strengthened the grip on second place.
The three goals scored by Burnley were the first conceded by the Addicks under Jose Riga’s reign at the South-London club.
And they helped retain the 10-point gap over third placed Derby County as the season enters the final lap.
Clarets boss Sean Dyche made two changes from the side that beat Leeds the previous week, with Junior Stanislas coming in for Ross Wallace on the wing and new loan signing Chris Baird replacing the injured Kieran Trippier at right-back.
Opponents Athletic made just one alteration from their midweek victory over Bournemouth, with Jonathan Obika for Callum Harriott up-front.
The two teams were evenly matched in the opening exchanges, but despite a difficult pitch, Burnley continued to play free flowing football.
Both Scott Arfield and Dean Marney had promising crosses cleared in the opening 10 minutes.
Soon after, Clarets keeper Tom Heaton was quick to collect a dangerous cross from Danny Green as Welsh international, Simon Church looked ready to pounce.
In a slow start to the match, it took until the 24th minute for the game to liven up, with both sides creating good opportunities in quick succession.
A slip from defender Michael Duff allowed Church through on goal and the striker unleashed a low drive, but the shot was comfortably saved by Heaton.
And within a minute Burnley had a golden chance of their own.
Good hold-up play by Barnes on the edge of the Addicks box allowed him to lay the ball off to Arfield, but the Scot’s right-footed effort was tame and straight at keeper Ben Hamer.
The Clarets continued to press and went close in the 34th minute as Stanislas at the by-line cut the ball back to Vokes, whose effort was deflected and put behind for a corner.
From that resulting corner, Michael Duff rose well to header just over at the back post.
Dyche’s men were now in the ascendancy, and the increasing pressure was rewarded with the opening goal, courtesy of a first Burnley goal for Barnes on 37 minutes!
Stanislas, on the left wing, delivered a delicious cross in to the box and Barnes got in front of his marker to meet the ball and head the past Hamer to put the Clarets in front from six-yards.
Burnley did not let up, and looked to go in to the break with an elusive second. On 41 minutes, debutant Baird picked up the ball 20 yards out. The defender took the ball forward before fashioning a powerful striker that Hamer could only parry.
The rebound found it’s way to Arfield on the right, who curled a magnificent ball to Barnes at the back post. The striker’s header looked goalbound, only to be superbly denied by Hamer as he got down well to save.
Minutes later Arfield showed good strength to win the ball back from Charlton left-back Rhoys Wiggins before advancing in to the box on the counter attack.
Burnley had a three-on-two advantage as the winger played the ball to Barnes, but a cruel bobble took the chance away from the striker and the ball was cleared.
Half-time Charlton 0-1 Burnley
Burnley began the second half with the same tenacity and determination as they finished the first, as an Arfield shot was blocked in the box.
And on 54 minutes the Clarets were given the chance of breathing space, as referee Oliver Langford awarded a penalty!
Barnes laid the ball through to strike partner Sam Vokes in the box and the striker looked to pull the trigger before a tangle of legs hauled him to the ground, giving the referee no choice put to point to the spot.
Vokes himself took the spot-kick, stepping up to wrong foot Hamer and slot the ball in the right corner of the net to notch his 20th league goal of the season.
Charlton went close to cutting the deficit on 63 minutes, as a free kick from substitute Ajdarevic was smartly saved by Heaton.
And the Swede went close again on 77, this time his shot from outside the box going wide.
But the Clarets comfortably held, then increased their lead further in stoppage time after some clever work by substitute Kightly.
The winger, on for Stanislas, showed good trickery on the right to glide in to the box and his shot was deflected away from Hamer to seal another important three points for the Clarets.
Burnley: Heaton, Baird, Duff (Long 90), Shackell, Mee, Stanislas (Kightly, 74), Marney, Jones, Arfield, Vokes, Barnes.
Subs not used: Wallace, Cisak, Edgar, Treacy, Lafferty
Charlton: Hamer, Jackson, Morrison, Dervite, Green (Ajdarevic, 46) Church (Ghoochannejhad, 54), Obika, Wiggins, Wilson, Cousins, Poyet (Sordell, 76).
Subs not used: Thuram-Ullien, Wood, Nego, Fox,
Referee: O. Langford