THIS will go down as a missed opportunity for Burnley.

They fell to a second straight Premier League defeat as Crystal Palace secured the points at Turf Moor with a 3-1 win.

Burnley had much the better of the first 75 minutes, but could not find their crossing range as too many balls into the box simply did find a claret and blue shirt.

In contrast, Palace capitalised on every opportunity to punish Burnley at the back.

Once Wilfried Zaha’s splendid individual third went in the Eagles flowed forward with the confidence of a side who knew the game was won and that survival was all but secured.

Ashley Barnes ensured Burnley had the last word with a late header but defeat will be tough to take.

With Liverpool at Anfield up next, defeats for Cardiff and Southampton ensured the gap between the Clarets and the bottom three remains at five points and means the damage to the table is minimal.

Sean Dyche will be hoping the damage to the confidence, built over the eight game unbeaten run which only ended last week, will also remain intact for the run in.

His side had started the brighter, albeit without creating a clear chance, but Palace took the lead with their first foray forward. A swift move put Zaha in down the right and his driven ball across the box found its way to Jeffrey Schlupp whose pull back cannoned into the net off the unfortunate Phil Bardsley.

It wasn’t great defending from the Clarets but they finish was nonetheless unfortunate.

But, to their credit, Burnley didn’t let the setback put them off their stride.

Chris Wood was denied by Wayne Hennessey at his near post after Barnes flick on from Jeff Hendrick’s pass got the frontman in behind the Palace defence. Ashley Westwood then tested the visiting keeper with a volley from distance while Barnes dragged a shot wide from 20 yards.

The home side continued to do all the pressing. A sweeping team move from right to left ended with Charlie Taylor crossing for Hendrick whose volley was deflected over by Patrick van Aanholt.

Palace tried to come into the game in the closing stages of the first half with Zaha a threat but they could only muster a Michy Batshuyai shot which flew harmlessly over the bar.

The Eagles striker was involved in a scuffle with Westwood as the players went in for the break and the Palace man, who had hit the deck too easily in the first half, cemented his place as pantomime villain when he thumped home a second on 48 minutes.

McNeil came off his wing to try and win the ball and, when Zaha fed Wan-Bissaka, the Palace defender had space to find Batshuayi who fired into the top corner from 12 yards.

It was a sucker punch for the Clarets.

Dyche’s men tried to respond with Johann Berg Gudmundsson, a half time introduction for Hendrick, doing well to keep the ball alive allowing Jack Cork to find Wood at the back post. The Kiwi won the ball in the air but Barnes couldn’t volley the knockdown into the net from close range.

Palace were carrying more threat than in the first period but their chances remained sporadic.

Patrick van Aanholt fired off target from 25 yards before Schlupp fizzed an effort which flicked off Tom Heaton’s gloves on its way over.

At the other end, Burnley’s delivery continued to let them down. The Clarets found themselves in plenty of promising positions but couldn’t make the most of them and survived a scare when Batshuayi over ran a one on one opportunity against Heaton after capitalising on a hopeful Wan-Bissaka ball forward.

Ashley Barnes hooked an effort wide as the Clarets sought a route back into the contest but Palace put the result beyond doubt with 14 minutes to play.

Zaha received the ball on the edge of the box, drove forwards, turned Taylor inside out, left Mee on his backside and fired through Tarkowski’s legs and beyond Heaton.

It looked as if the visitors would add to their tally in the closing stages as the Clarets suddenly looked vulnerable from all angles.

But, as heavy rain began to sweep across Turf Moor, the home side grabbed themselves a late consolation when Barnes flicked in Westwood’s cross.

Peter Crouch, introduced for the final 10 minutes, then came close to a second but was denied by the fingertips of Hennessey.

In the end it was not to be for Burnley and although they will be casting a glance over their shoulder, the Clarets have shown they have enough to beat the drop this season.

Home games against Leicester, Wolves and relegation rivals Cardiff are on the horizon, a positive result or two in that trio of games should prove enough to secure another season of Premier League football at Turf Moor.