Captain Ben Mee marked his 300th league appearance for Burnley with the Clarets’ winner at Crystal Palace.

Having made national headlines with his passionate defence of the club and the town after the ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ banner flown over the Clarets’ 5-0 defeat at Manchester City, Mee did his talking on the pitch here.

The skipper dived to meet Ashley Westwood’s free-kick with a header on 62 minutes that should, in truth, have been kept out by Vicente Guaita.

It was just the 30-year-old’s seventh goal in nine years at Turf Moor and lifted the Clarets up to eighth in the Premier League and well in the hunt for Europa League football.

Mee’s was another fine header to bring victory for Sean Dyche’s side, Jay Rodriguez having produced a similar effort in the win over Watford at Turf Moor a few days earlier.

Rodriguez however was not sufficiently recovered from a tight hamstring to feature at Selhurst Park and with Matt Lowton also out with a foot injury Dyche was back to a youthful seven substitutes which included two goalkeepers.

It left Dwight McNeil supporting Matej Vydra in attack with Erik Pieters and Phil Bardsley called into action.

The news pre-match got no better for the Clarets with Wilfried Zaha passed fit for the hosts.

The first half saw the Clarets produce some promising play and move the ball around nicely.

After Luca Milivojevic had sent a free-kick over the bar just before the quarter hour the all-action Josh Brownhill was inches from finding Jack Cork with a right-wing cross only for Scott Dann to help the ball on its way with a vital flick.

The Clarets’ next attack saw Ashley Westwood’s corner pinball around the area with the ball breaking to McNeil who could only send the ball into an empty Selhurst Park stand.

Thriving in his more central role, McNeil then drove at the Palace defence from deep but his shot from the edge of the area was easy for Vicente Guaita.

The hosts’ openings at the other end were also half-chances, former Clarets loanee Gary Cahill slicing a volley over the bar before Jordan Ayew’s shot from distance produced a routine save from Nick Pope and James McArthur headed wide after Bardsley got a touch on Joel Ward’s cross.

It was a dangerous centre at the other end that nearly produced the opener just before the interval but Westwood’s teasing cross was just in front of Vydra, Guaita palming the ball into the path of Pieters whose effort was snuffed out by the Palace defence.

The first action of the second half saw VAR check for a possible red card after Brownhill was caught by a flailing arm from Jordan Ayew, a lengthy review ending with the Palace man staying on the pitch.

The striker then nearly laid on the game’s opening goal but after flicking the ball into the path of Cahill the defender’s shot was tame.

At the other end an effort from McNeil equally needed more power to stretch Guaita when cutting in from the right.

A scrappier second half, James Tarkowski and James McCarthy booked, was brought to life by Mee’s opener just past the hour mark, his first goal since January 2017.

The Clarets skipper produced a brave diving header to connect with Westwood’s free-kick, Guaita getting a strong hand to it but only helping it on to the post and in.

The visitors did not have long to celebrate with Cork hobbling off with an ankle problem to be replaced by Kevin Long, Dyche forced to switch to five at the back.

Zaha then couldn’t make the most of an error from the Irishman before Andros Townsend sent a shot over the bar 15 minutes from time.

Palace then had a glorious chance to level things up on 79 minutes but Ayew could only plant a free header from Zaha’s cross over the bar.

Burnley were largely on the defensive, seeing out the three points, but Brownhill did fire high and wide at the end of a good free-kick routine when he had time to test Guaita.

It was the hosts who finished the stronger though, Patrick van Aanholt and Dann both going close in stoppage time before Pope held on to Cahill’s header.

The Clarets held on though to ensure another European tour is on the cards with six games to go.