Burnley 1 West Ham 2
The Clarets ended the Premier League season in 16th-place – their highest league finish since 1975 – as bogey team West Ham made it a losing finale at Turf Moor.
Burnley have only beaten the Hammers once at home in the last 39 years and despite another goal from top scorer Sam Vokes, Sean Dyche’s side was unable to stop the rot.
Vokes put the Clarets ahead with his 12th goal of the campaign as he took his purple patch right to the end.
But Sofiane Feghouli’s equaliser and a second-half winner from the impressive Andre Ayew gave the Hammers the points that lifted them up to 11th-place.
Peter Noble played 299 games for the Clarets
That position was up for grabs, depending on other results, when Burnley kicked off following a heart-felt minute’s applause in memory of Peter Noble, the Clarets’ former captain who was in the Burnley side which finished 10th in the top flight in 1975.
And while the extra money that would have come from improving their position by so many places on the final day proved elusive, the Clarets’ magnificent achievement in securing their top-flight status with a couple of games to spare can’t be over-stated.
Since guaranteeing their safety, Dyche’s men have suffered back-to-back defeats as their efforts have finally caught up with them.
Sam Vokes celebrates his 10th Premier League goal
But again they didn’t go down without a fight against the Hammers as they tried to end a memorable season at Turf Moor in fitting style.
Indeed, Burnley could have been in front inside 60 seconds as an incident-packed first half started as it was to go on.
Ashley Westwood’s lofted ball forward allowed Andre Gray to get in behind the Hammers’ defence but on his return to the starting line-up, the striker’s attempted lob was directed off target.
The visitors replied with an effort from Feghouli which was comfortably saved by Tom Heaton but the early threat almost all came from the home side.
Andre Gray finished the season with 10 goals
Robbie Brady was also handed his first start for a month and responded with a lively opening spell which saw him almost tee up Vokes with a teasing pass and then deliver the corner which ended with James Tarkowski heading over the top after Gray had hooked the ball back in.
And the Clarets’ slick start paid off with 22 minutes gone when Vokes struck to round off the perfect counter-attack and make it 1-0.
Stephen Ward started the move with a clearance at one end and after Gray and Scott Arfield had exchanged passes, Gray crossed low into the box where the ball eluded Arfield but arrived perfectly at the feet of Vokes to clinically side-foot home his 10th Premier League goal of the season.
Vokes’ fifth goal is as many games made him only the second Burnley player, after former strike partner Danny Ings, to post double figures for a Premier League season.
But his celebrations were cut short just three minutes later when West Ham made it 1-1 with a decent goal of their own.
Feghouli provided the finish, driving the ball low past Heaton, but it was the quality of a clever flick from Ayew which made it as the quick feet of the Ghana international opened up the Clarets’ defence following a well-worked free-kick.
Andre Ayew's header gave West Ham a fifth away win
Westwood had collected a yellow card for a trip on Ayew to concede the set-piece and the Clarets’ midfielder was fortunate not to receive another caution for catching James Collins with a high challenge.
But Burnley, having survived another Feghouli chance, could still have led at the break as two minutes before half-time Brady delivered a low cross which Gray steered across the face of goal and just wide of the far post with his left instep.
Brady then lifted a free-kick opportunity over the bar nine minutes into the second half as the Clarets tried to raise themselves one more time to get the goal that would take them above the Hammers in the table.
The Londoners, having lost 4-0 at home to Liverpool a week earlier, were not prepared to lie down, though, and with 20 minutes to go went in front of themselves as they pursued a first away success since early February.
Heaton parried a piledriver from Edimilson Fernandes but the ball looped up in the air and bounced down off the bar perfectly for Ayew to nod in from close range.
Dyche responded by sending on Ashley Barnes and Steven Defour to try and find a late leveler and avoid finishing the campaign with only a sixth home defeat.
But neither was able to help inspire a big finish as the Clarets were unable to conjure one up one last chance to end a superb season the way they deserved .
Burnley: Heaton, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Brady (Gudmundsson 67), Westwood (Defour 75), Hendrick, Arfield, Vokes, Gray (Barnes 75). Substitutes: Pope, Flanagan, Darikwa, Agyei.
Booked: Westwood, Gudmundsson
West Ham: Adrian, Byram, Collins, Fonte, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Fernandes (Rice 90), Feghouli, Snodgrass (Fletcher 84), Lanzini, Ayew. Substitutes: Randolph, Quina, Makasi, Kemp.
Booked: Collins, Lanzini
Referee: Robert Madley