SCOTT Arfield struck on his return to the team to help Burnley to a 1-0 win over Watford.

The winger was back in the side to replace the injured Robbie Brady and he scored a fine winner just before half-time to help the Clarets cement their stranglehold on seventh place.

The goal came just after Watford had seen Marvin Zeegelaar sent-off for a lunge on Steven Defour.

Brady wasn’t the only injury absentee for the Clarets, with Kevin Long coming in for his first Premier League action of the season with Ben Mee ruled out.

The visitors had emerged wearing tracksuit tops and perhaps that extra layer of warmth helped them to make the brighter start as they pegged the Clarets back early on.

They could have taken the lead inside the opening 10 minutes with the occasionally profligate Richarlison sliding in to turn a low cross from Andre Carrillo over the bar from six yards.

Burnley were beginning to edge their way into the game and a 25-yard free-kick provided them with an opportunity. Johann Berg Gudmundsson took over from Robbie Brady on set-piece duty and his dipping effort was kept out by a strong hand from Heurelho Gomes.

The Clarets were fully warmed up midway through the half, with Chris Wood twice testing Gomes and Gudmundsson dragging a 20-yarder wide after a fine piece of skill to create space for himself.

Nick Pope got his hands warm with a good low save from an Abdoulaye Doucoure volley from 12 yards as Watford seeked to reassert some control.

The Clarets were handed the numerical advantage six minutes before the break when Marvin Zeegelaar lunged into a challenge with Steven Defour with two feet.

That gave Burnley the impetus to finish the half strongly and they snatched the lead before the break. Gudmundsson was once the architect, with his low pass across the box dummied by Jeff Hendrick before Scott Arfield showed quick feet to step away from Daryl Janmaat and send a low left-footed shot back across goal and into the corner of the net.

The Clarets could have had a penalty in first half stoppage time, with Arfield’s flick hitting Janmaat on the arm, and the hosts had a goal wrongly ruled out early in the second half with Jack Cork incorrectly flagged offside before he squared for Wood to tap home.

Burnley had the ball in the net again with 20 minutes to go but again it was controversially ruled out. Barnes had applied the finish after Arfield’s reverse pass for Wood hit two Watford defenders and landed at the substitute’s feet. He was offside at the time of Arfield’s pass, but the ball wasn’t meant for him and his role in the goal started after the deflections.

Steven Defour then sent a free-kick onto the roof of the net before Andre Gray made his entrance, receiving plenty of boos from the Turf Moor faithful, before a smattering of applause broke out.

It was the Clarets looking for a second though and for the second time in the afternoon Gomes needed a strong hand to push away a Gudmundsson effort, this time from inside the area.