BURNLEY 2 QPR 1Burnley leapt out of the bottom three with a deserved win over Queens Park Rangers at windswept Turf Moor.
Danny Ings made the difference eight minutes before the break for his sixth Premier League goal and second in as many top-flight matches.
Former Claret Charlie Austin’s penalty had earlier cancelled out Scott Arfield’s superb opener on 12 minutes.
And the fourth win of the campaign meant Burnley leapfrogged their opponents to climb up to 16th place in the Premier League table.
Sean Dyche named an unchanged team for the seventh consecutive League game – a new Premier League record - as captain Jason Shackell was fit enough again after a calf problem.
Meanwhile, fellow centre half Michael Duff was included in the matchday squad for the first time since picking up a similar injury away at Stoke City in late November.
Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp made one change, with Adel Taarabt coming in from the cold to replace Bobby Zamora in the visitors’ starting eleven.
Burnley took the initiative right from the off and forged their first chance after nine minutes.
Ings linked up with Dean Marney, who found George Boyd on the edge of the box, but the Scot’s effort didn’t really trouble Rob Green in the QPR goal, though.
Three minutes later though, it was the Arfield show at Turf Moor!
The midfielder collected the ball in the left-wing position and went on a sensational, mazy run into the penalty area.
First, he nutmegged Mauricio Isla and then did the same to cut inside Richard Dunne before producing a low, curling finish right into the far corner for his second goal of the season and first since the curtain-raiser against Chelsea.
But Rangers response was positive and on 16 minutes Austin’s first-time strike came back off the post.
Seconds later, Leroy Fer sent another dangerous effort wide of the post.
However, it was soon the Clarets’ turn to threaten again in an action-packed spell.
David Jones’ inswinging free-kick into the penalty area evaded everyone and Green needed two attempts to just about deal with the danger.
Rangers, though, found their leveller shortly after the half-hour mark.
Austin controlled the ball inside the box before the referee adjudged he was brought down by Marney.
The former Claret then stepped up to smash the resulting penalty low into the corner for his 13th goal of the campaign.
And the visitors could have completed a quick turnaround shortly afterwards, only for Tom Heaton to produce a flying save following Eduardo Vargas’ spectacular volley.
And how crucial that save proved only moments later.
Ashley Barnes looked for Ings in behind the QPR centre-backs and the England under-21 international did the rest.
Ings first shrugged off the challenge of Steven Caulker and then cut the ball across the body of Dunne before coolly side-footing the ball home with his left foot to restore Burnley’s lead.
It was also the striker’s fourth goal in his last four matches against Queens Park Rangers.
And the Clarets could have increased their lead six minutes into the second half.
Ben Mee’s throw-in found Barnes unmarked in the penalty area and his left-foot effort needed Green to test his reflexes once more.
On the hour mark, Mee was inches away from scoring himself, only just failing to provide a decisive touch following Kieran Trippier’s outstanding delivery from a corner.
And it wasn’t even the best pass the right-back produced on the day!
On 63 minutes, Trippier’s fabulous long ball from deep found Ings in behind the Rangers back four again.
The striker controlled the ball wonderfully on the outside of his right foot, only to finish the wrong side of the post.
Redknapp then introduced Zamora into the field of play as the visitors kept searching for another equaliser.
But it was Burnley who continued to drive forward as they looked to seal the game.
Mee soon got a connection with his head to put Green under all sorts of pressure before Barnes bundled the ball in from close range.
However, the linesman ruled that Green had been fouled by the Clarets forward.
On 72 minutes, the tireless Barnes finally made way for Sam Vokes, who made his second league cameo of the season.
And Burnley soon created another chance that could have put their victory beyond any doubt.
Arfield slipped Ings through on goal, but, with the angle tight, the striker got caught up in two minds and didn’t test Green before the ball went out of play.
The visitors responded with two efforts from distance, without seriously troubling Heaton in the Clarets goal.
And shortly afterwards, Green had to be on his toes again, magnificently denying new permanent signing Michael Keane his first Burnley goal with a far-post header.
The centre half then had another opportunity with just two minutes to go, but couldn’t direct his header on target.
Then, right at the death, the visitors created their final chance, but Heaton made a routine stop from Caulker’s header.
And the Clarets held on to celebrate their first home Premier League game of the New Year with a vital victory.
Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Keane, Shackell, Mee; Boyd, Marney, Jones, Arfield; Ings, Barnes (Vokes 72).
Subs not used: Gilks, Duff, Reid, Wallace, Kightly, Jutkiewicz.
Bookings: Marney, Barnes
QPR: Green; Isla, Dunne, Caulker, Hill (Traoré 75); Vargas (Zárate 75), Barton, Henry (Zamora 69), Fer; Taarabt; Austin.
Subs not used: McCarthy, Onuoha, Mutch, Phillips
Bookings: Barton, Traoré
Referee: Andre Marriner
Attendance: 17,523 (1,104)