WHEN Burnley took the lead against Burton Albion the visiting fans briefly broke into a rendition of ‘We’re all going on a European tour’.

It was a nice thought. The Clarets’ Europa League exertions this season meant they entered the Carabao Cup in the third round. That was just one win short of matching their best ever run in this competition under Sean Dyche. But that in itself tells a story and it was another night of League Cup anguish for Burnley.

After taking the lead through Kevin Long they had looked in control. Even when Liam Boyce equalised against the run of play the Clarets had soon been back on the front foot, but theirs is a loveless relationship with the League Cup and when Jamie Allen somehow bundled his way through to score six minutes from time it confirmed yet another early exit.

For a long time it hadn’t looked like being the kind of night that would end in disappointment.

Half an hour before kick-off at a still sleepy Pirelli Stadium Burton Albion’s tannoy announcer read out the teams, attempting to bring some early life to the Carabao Cup third round tie.

Of the 22 names he read out, 21 were met with a weary, disinterested silence as punters focused on the pies and the coffees instead.

But when he reached Burnley’s number 16, the couple of hundred Clarets fans already in place behind the goal made themselves heard. Steven Defour was back.

It had been eight long months since the Belgium midfielder was last spotted in a Clarets shirt. Injury bulletins have been eagerly awaited and then frustratingly received as news of Defour’s delayed comeback was relayed. But here he was in Staffordshire.

As the cast made their way into the pitch just before kick-off, it was clear Defour was the leading man, serenaded first and loudest by the away end, enjoying themselves back on a terrace.

Defour was soon enjoying himself as well. His touches of class lit up a dull opening half an hour. There was the step over under pressure in his own right-back position to create a yard of space, before the stroked pass to Long, the shimmy in the left-back slot to shake off his man, before the pass back to Tom Heaton.

At the other end he had two assists ruled out for offside. A beautifully weighted pass finished by Chris Wood, and a chipped ball over the defence ruthlessly buried by Long.

If Defour had started stealing the show, it was Burnley’s most underrated player who opened the scoring five minutes before half-time. Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s outswinging corner was perfectly met by Long, his header flying past Dimitar Evtimov.

Gudmundsson could have doubled the advantage 10 minutes into the second half, latching onto Matej Vydra’s flick and forcing Evtimov to push his shot away.

Burnley had survived a scare on the break in the first half, when Boyce’s pull-back found an unmarked Scott Fraser 12 yards out, only for the midfielder to fire tamely straight at Tom Heaton. But they were undone on the counter just after the hour for the equaliser.

Matt Lowton looked to have stopped David Templeton’s break with a well-timed interception, but Dwight McNeil couldn’t complete the clearance and when the loose ball fell to Boyce, he beat Heaton at his near post with a fierce drive.

Burnley were nearly back in the lead through Ashley Barnes, making an impact within a minute of coming off the bench as his 22-yard drive bounced back off the post.

The Clarets were back on top now. Barnes headed Gudmundsson’s cross down but Westwood could only hook his volley just over, before Chris Wood forced Evtimov into another save with a shot across the goalkeeper.

But the sucker punch would come six minutes from time. Boyce managed to poke a ball through to Allen, who found space between Long and Ben Mee and nudged his finish beyond Heaton.

Burnley: Tom Heaton 5, Matt Lowton 6, Kevin Long 6, Ben Mee 6, Stephen Ward 5, Johann Berg Gudmundsson 6, Steven Defour 7 (Jeff Hendrick 74), Ashley Westwood 7, Dwight McNeil 5, Matej Vydra 6 (Ashley Barnes 71), Chris Wood 6 (Sam Vokes 81)

Subs not used: Adam Legzdins, Phil Bardsley, Charlie Taylor, Aaron Lennon

Burton Albion: Dimitar Evtimov, Lucas Akins, John Brayford, Ben Turner, Damien McCrory, Stephen Quinn (Ben Fox 70), Jamie Allen, Scott Fraser (Joe Sbarra 77), David Templeton (Marvin Sordell 81), Jake Hesketh, Liam Boyce

Subs not used: Harry Campbell, Will Miller, Reece Hutchinson, Jake Flannigan