IF the trip to Selhurst Park last season is one the Clarets will never forget, their return to south London this term was very much the opposite.

As individual games and standalone days they were from opposing ends of the spectrum. A fine performance last April secured a memorable result on a wonderful day. This time around the January chill only brought with it a below-par display, out thought and out fought by Crystal Palace, who could have won by more than their single goal margin.

Of course back in April Burnley were still looking for those final points to secure Premier League survival. Now they can go through a six-game run without a win and still sit seventh.

That run has included some near-misses for the Clarets, particularly at Old Trafford and the John Smith’s Stadium, but it would be difficult to argue that was the case in south London.

Palace were the brighter and sharper team from the off and although Burnley steadied the ship in the second half, swinging momentum back their way, they struggled to create the same level of concern in the Eagles defence that had pervaded Burnley’s in a nervy first-half display.

It was old-fashioned football that had the Clarets rocking. James McArthur was pushed high up alongside Christian Benteke, with Wilfried Zaha and Bakary Sako on the flanks, and the hosts looked to get the ball to them as quickly as they could.

It was a tactic that worked. Both full-backs were rattled early on, and while Charlie Taylor recovered well Phil Bardsley didn’t, the pace of Sako and, occasionally, Zaha, troubling him.

It was Sako who threatened early, James Tarkowski getting a block in but he was powerless to deny the in-form winger midway through the half. Benteke’s ball found Sako near the left touchline, but he ran at Bardsley and the experienced full-back backed off. As Sako crept closer to the six-yard box he powered a low effort through Tarkowski’s legs and into the back of the net, with Nick Pope getting a foot to the shot but unable to keep it out.

Taylor then failed to find Pope with a header back, allowing Zaha to get there first and lift the ball across goal only for Ben Mee to produce a magnificent goal line clearance from under his own bar with McArthur steaming in behind him.

Still Palace threatened. Benteke powered a header over then flicked a Patrick Van Aanholt shot into the grateful arms of Pope, before Sako thrashed a left-footed volley across goal and narrowly wide.

The Clarets first half threat had been minimal, a glanced header from Sam Vokes and an Ashley Barnes half-volley tipped over by Wayne Hennessey their best efforts. But they improved for the break, following their manager’s instructions to get on the front foot and impact the game.

Within 10 minutes of the restart Barnes had looped a header from Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s cross just wide and Vokes had flicked a header from Steven Defour’s cross into the side-netting.

But the decisive blow was hard to come by. Georges-Kevin Nkoudou added some X factor from the bench with a mix of pace and skill, but it was a ball from Defour that broke the lock, sending Barnes clear with a clipped pass over the top only for Hennessey to win the duel once again and secure the points for the hosts.