Rotherham 1 Burnley 2Start spreading the news… Burnley strikers Andre Gray and Sam Vokes are beginning to forge a deadly partnership!
The Clarets strikers were both on target at the New York Stadium as Burnley saw off a spirited second half fightback from Rotherham.
Gray gave Burnley a deserved half time lead with a smart finish in the eighth minute - a lead they preserved until Grant Ward levelled with a sublime strike 15 minutes from time.
But Burnley’s wonderful response, after being second best after the break, was a priceless winner nine minutes from time from Vokes, pouncing from close range for his third goal of the season to sign off for his dates with destiny with Wales in style.
Sean Dyche made two changes to the starting line-up for the first-ever visit to the New York Stadium.
Gray returned in attack for Rouwen Hennings, who missed out after his wife went into labour, while Joey Barton replaced Michael Kightly in midfield for his first start.
And eight minutes in, following a bright start, the Clarets were ahead.
Ben Mee won a towering header from Michael Duff’s free kick and George Boyd controlled on his chest and lobbed the ball over a static defence for Gray to race onto and coolly chip the advancing keeper.
It was precisely the start Burnley would have wanted to quieten a buoyant Rotherham side seeking a third straight victory.
United’s response was a swirling 25-yard free kick from Tony Andreu that whistled wide of Tom Heaton’s right hand post.
But Burnley always carried a threat coming forward, and Tendayi Darikwa, fresh from opening his account last weekend, soon tested Lee Camp with a deflected effort from distance that the Millers keeper found too hot to handle.
And just after the half hour mark, the visitors came closer to a second when Sam Vokes let fly from 30 yards and Camp was thankful to see the ball thump back off the face of the crossbar.
David Jones was next to try his luck from outside the area, with a left foot curler that was arrowing into the bottom corner but for a fine parry from an increasingly overworked Camp.
The midfielder perhaps should have done better when he dragged a shot wide in the area after being well picked out by Scott Arfield.
But United were determined Burnley would not have it all their own way, and two minutes before half time former Blackburn striker Matt Derbyshire spun on the edge of the box and forced a fine sprawling save from Tom Heaton low at his left hand post.
Rotherham made a spirited start to the second half, but the first half chance broke to Arfield just before the hour mark. Barton’s shot from distance fell into the wide man’s path, but he dragged his shot just wide from the edge of the box.
And as the game entered the final quarter, the Clarets seemed content to keep the Millers at arms’ length and look to snatch a second on the counter.
However, they hadn’t counted on a stunning strike from distance from Grant Ward to level the scores with 15 minutes remaining.
The Millers midfielder gave Heaton no chance after cutting inside onto his right foot and finding the top corner with a wonderful strike.
But Burnley’s response was typical, and they again grabbed the initiative with nine minutes remaining.
Gray fed Arfield on the overlap and when the winger’s shot cannoned back off keeper Camp’s legs, Vokes was on hand to tap home and settle the spoils.
BURNLEY: Heaton, Mee, Keane, Duff, Darikwa, Arfield, Barton, Jones, Boyd (Taylor 75), Gray (C Long 88), Vokes.
Subs: Gilks, Ulvestad, Lowton, Kightly, Ward
Booked: C Long 90
ROTHERHAM: Camp, Buxton, Collins, Rawson (Broadfoot 77), Mattock; G Ward, Smallwood, Andreu (Maguire 71, Newell (D Ward 71); Clarke-Harris, Derbyshire.
Subs: Collin, Ledesma, White, Richardson
Booked: Collins 61, Smallwood 65, Clarke-Harris 90
Ref: P Bankes
Att: 9,752 (1,595)