First-half goals from Connor Roberts and Nathan Collins handed Burnley a vital 2-0 win over Southampton, bolstering the Clarets’ hopes of Premier League survival.
Victory for managerless Burnley means they are now just one point off safety, on 28 points, behind 17th-placed Everton with six games left to play.
The first chance of the game landed to Oriol Romeu in the eighth minute, but he could not steer his free header from a corner on goal.
Three minutes later and Burnley took the lead. Roberts, who was brought in as a replacement for Matt Lowton in the starting XI, cut onto his left foot and curled his strike into the top corner beyond the reach of Fraser Forster.
Burnley continued to pressure. Forster made a string of fine saves to stop Wout Weghorst and Jay Rodriguez from a corner before the Netherlands international was denied by the crossbar on the rebound.
But in the 33rd minute, Romeu squandered another glorious chance to equalise from a corner, nodding his free header wide again.
He was made to regret his missed opportunity as Burnley got their second on the stroke of half-time. Collins rose highest to nod in Josh Brownhill’s corner to extend the hosts’ advantage.
Southampton improved in the second half and forced Nick Pope into making some comfortable stops.
But Burnley came closest to scoring again, having a goal ruled out for offside in the 62nd minute when Jack Cork prodded the ball into the net from three yards out.
TALKING POINT – WILL BURNLEY STAY UP?
Burnley have now won two of their last four matches and their lineup fielded against Southampton is one that could prove threatening to any Premier League defence.
Maxwel Cornet and Dwight McNeil are both very useful on the counter-attack while Weghorst and Rodriguez have forged a strong partnership up front.
With Burnley’s run-in looking far easier than Everton’s, there are plenty of reasons for fans of the Lancashire club to be hopeful heading into the final weeks of the campaign.
MAN OF THE MATCH – FRASER FORSTER
Forster was simply excellent and the scoreline could have been far worse for Southampton if not for some crucial saves by the 34-year-old midway through the first half.
Burnley: Pope (7), Roberts (7), Collins (7), Tarkowski (6), Taylor (6), McNeil (6), Brownhill (6), Cork (6), Cornet (6), Rodriguez (6), Weghorst (6)
Subs: Lennon (6), Vydra (6), Lowton (N/A)
Southampton: Forster (8), Valery (6), Lyanco (4), Bednarek (5), Walker-Peters (7), Ward-Prowse (6), Romeu (6), Perraud (5), Elyounoussi (5), Armstrong (5), Broja (6)
Subs: Adams (5), Redmond (5), Livramento (N/A)
8′ – CLOSE FROM ROMEU! From a Southampton corner, Romeu has a free header inside the box and he directs it on goal, but it curls just wide of Pope’s left post!
11′ – WHAT A GOAL FROM ROBERTS!! Burnley lead! It’s a brilliant goal from the right-back! He picks the ball up on the edge of the box, cuts onto his left foot and curls his strike into the top corner beyond the reach of Forster. Burnley in front!
16′ – HUGE CHANCE FOR RODRIGUEZ! After the ball pinballs around the box, it falls to Rodriguez and he shoots from point-blank range, but his driven effort is superbly stopped by Forster who saves it with an outstretched right arm!
24′ – BIG SAVE FROM FORSTER! Taylor’s cross is blocked and Burnley’s imposing defenders will come forward again for the set-piece. Brownhill’s cross into the box is nodded on goal by Rodriguez which forces Forster into a brilliant save! Weghorst pounces on the rebound with a free header three yards out, but this time it comes off the bar!
33′ – ANOTHER BIG CHANCE MISSED BY ROMEU! Another corner and again it is Romeu who is free inside the box. This time his header loops just past Pope’s right post! He has squandered two glorious chances in front of goal this evening!
44′ – GOAL! COLLINS SCORES BURNLEY’S SECOND! Burnley tighten their grip on this match and it is Collins who extends their lead! Brownhill’s cross into the box is met by the centre-back and he nods his header into the bottom corner.
62′ – GOAL FOR BURNLEY? McNeil’s cross to the far post is nodded across goal by Tarkowski. It is punched into Rodriguez before taking a touch off Cork and into the net. But did Rodriguez handle the ball and was Cork offside? VAR IS CHECKING IT. NO GOAL! The goal has been ruled out.