WHEN Ashley Barnes converted a penalty in the 4-1 Premier League win over Sunderland on New Year’s Eve 2016, few could have envisaged it would take until February 2019 for the Clarets to win another one at Turf Moor.

Burnley’s last league spot kick was in April 2017, a run of 68 games, before referee Anthony Taylor, who somehow neglected to award the Clarets a penalty when Barnes went down under Alex McCarthy’s challenge in the first half, penalised Southampton’s Jack Stephens for handball deep in stoppage time.

Barnes, who had hit the bar in the second half, held his nerve to slot home and extend Sean Dyche’s side unbeaten league run to six games.

For many inside Turf Moor it was justice.

Having waited so long for a penalty the Clarets should have had one on the half hour when Barnes tumbled under the challenge of Southampton goalkeeper McCarthy.

Referee Taylor somehow interpreted the collision as a dive by Barnes, who was booked for simulation. The striker was furious, venting his frustration at assistant referee Adam Nunn.

It was a baffling decision, leaving the Clarets players, staff and supporters incredulous.

The last Clarets league penalty was on April 15, 2017, when Sam Vokes, who ironically saw a spot kick saved for his new club Stoke City on Saturday, scored in the win at Everton.

They got one in the end here and Barnes made no mistake to earn a share of the spoils.

In and amongst the defeat and disbelief, the Burnley debut of Peter Crouch was almost lost.

The build-up had been dominated by talk of the 38-year-old’s arrival and he made his debut as a late substitute.

He showcased his qualities, proving a nuisance for the Southampton backline, and it was his influence which led to Stephens conceding the last gasp spot kick.

The result means Burnley are unbeaten in six Premier League games but they started slowly here.

Their only chance in the opening quarter fell to Barnes. Dwight McNeil, again bright on the left, put over a cross but Barnes couldn’t get any power on his header and it was easy for McCarthy

It was Burnley old boy Danny Ings, who was later forced off injured, who had the first chance of the contest. The striker latched onto a long ball and got away from James Tarkowski but Tom Heaton stood tall and blocked Ings’ efforts with his chest.

The Clarets forced a couple of goalmouth scrambles with Barnes and Jack Cork seeing shots blocked before Chris Wood wasted a great chance just before the half hour. The striker stayed onside to latch onto McNeil’s pass, kept his composure to cut inside Stephens but then lifted his effort over the bar.

Burnley were brighter now with everything positive coming through McNeil. The youngster stretched his legs again but his cross was just in front of Wood.

Then came the big moment of the half. Barnes latched onto Phil Bardsley’s ball over the top, poked it past McCarthy and went down. Referee Taylor took a look and decided Barnes had dived, the Clarets striker was outraged, his teammates stunned, the home fans dismayed.

Barnes knew the contact was coming from McCarthy, waited for it and the keepers’ legs felled the frontman. It was a certain penalty.

The half time whistle was greeted with boos for the officials and within 10 minutes of the second period Southampton were in front.

Redmond was given time to advance from deep and he skipped pastCork’s tame challenge to drive into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Burnley looked for a response, Johann Berg Gudmundsson and debutant Crouch were summoned from the bench but the Clarets were struggling to create clear chances.

Barnes, whose luck was out, flicked a header wide before McCarthy denied him at close quarters after Crouch had caused confusion in the box.

Barnes came closer still seven minutes from time when he struck the bar with a powerful effort after Gudmundsson headed the ball into his path.

Southampton rarely threatened after taking the lead and as they sat back the home side applied the pressure.

But for all the balls into the box there was no breakthrough, until, right at the death, Stephens raised a hand challenging with Crouch and Taylor pointed to the spot.

Barnes was composure personified and stroked away the penalty to secure a share of the spoils.