FOOTBALL romantics couldn't have scripted it better.

The town had waited 33 years for top flight football to return, and it was announced in spectacular fashion with a superb performance against the champions, thoroughly deserved win and a strike which could well be nailed on for goal of the season already.

And like any good story, this incredible tale wasn't without an ironic twist.

For it was a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in the penultimate game of the 1975/76 season that ultimately consigned the Clarets to more than three decades out of English football's top flight. Last night, in front of a loud and proud full house, it was time for retribution.

Lou Macari scored the goal the last time these two teams met in the league.

Robbie Blake blasted in the first in their top table reunion.

At 33, the master craftsman thought a third chance to play in the Premier League had passed him by.

With Fabio Capello watching from the stands, perhaps it's not yet too late for an England call-up!

But it all started with Andre Bikey.

The man who was brought in to strengthen a defence that shipped two soft goals at Stoke not only did his job at the back with a clean sheet on his debut but played a significant role in handing Burnley the lead.

The powerful 6ft1ins centre half was fouled by one of the smallest men on the pitch, Michael Owen, and Graham Alexander's quickly taken free kick allowed Wade Elliott to push forward to in-turn free Martin Paterson.

The Northern Ireland international brought a save from Ben Foster as he tried to round the goalkeeper, but Burnley kept the ball alive around the box.

Stephen Jordan advanced from left back in support and aimed for Paterson at the far post with a looping cross. Patrice Evra rose above the striker, but his header dropped perfectly for Blake to almost burst the net with an unstoppable right foot volley.

His night threatened to turn sour when he conceded a penalty for a sliding challenge on Evra a minute before the break though.

Having been booked earlier for a push in the back on Ryan Giggs he escaped an early bath, before Brian Jensen - the man whose penalty shoot-out saves made him a Carling Cup hero at Chelsea - kept out Carrick's spot kick low to his right and Mears mopped up the rebound.

Turf Moor's reunion with top flight football was going wonderfully well, and a cautious line-up was paying dividends.

With no Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic protecting Edwin Van der Sar's understudy Foster, it was a surprise when Clarets boss Owen Coyle made Paterson the loan striker in a 4-2-3-1 line-up.

But after surviving an early frenzy, increased numbers in central midfield worked in stifling United - with Elliott partnering Alexander in the holding role - and the Clarets began to demonstrate their own flair and determined forward play as Elliott's powerful engine got him up and down the pitch with consummate ease.

Michael Owen, making his first start since a summer move from Newcastle United, did have the ball in the back of the net early, but only because he had ignored an offside flag. He even had the temerity to poke the ball beyond Jensen after have an initial shot blocked.

Burnley eventually got the ball down and between Tyrone Mears, Blake and Elliott worked a cute opening in the right corner. The ball reached an unmarked Steven Fletcher after looping up off Chris McCann's head, fell invitingly for the Scotland international to volley, but he couldn't make Foster work, despite two attempts.

He looked up to the heavens in frustration, but it was a promising start, although Jordan breathed a sigh of relief at avoiding a second consecutive own goal when the ball spun wide of the lower left hand post following his challenge on Carrick inside the box.

After sprinting away from Wes Brown and Jonny Evans, Paterson was unlucky not to get a toe to Fletcher's long pass before it ran through for Foster to scoop up.

Blake's brilliant breakthrough came on 19 minutes.

Fletcher had an acrobatic attempt at increasing Burnley's lead midway through the half, when Blake's free kick was partially headed out, but it was no nearer testing Foster than his earlier effort.

The Clarets had to weather a spell of pressure as the clock ticked towards half-time, not least Carrick's superbly saved penalty.

And there was a scare or two for Jensen at the start of the second half.

But there was no relenting in Burnley's determination to take the game to the champions and Blake's 20-yard low free kick through the wall almost brought a second.

Turf Moor held it's breath just before the hour, but a speculative shot from outside of the area went well over the bar, before substitute Dimitar Berbatov curled one over the angle from the edge of the D soon after his 64th minute introduction.

Burnley were exciting going forward, but couldn't muster the extra goal to ease the growing tension.

Jensen made a sprawling save from Ji-Sung Park, before Jordan made a vital, crunching challenge on substitute Antonio Valencia from the rebound.

Fletcher cracked a shot wide at the opposite end, before finding Elliott with a square pass from the left. The midfielder was given acres of space to shoot, but it was comfortable for Foster in the end.

The same couldn't be said for Jensen as Giggs got on the end of a quick counter and in front of Bikey. But the Cameroon international made up enough ground to put the 35-year-old off his stride, while the advancing Jensen blocked with his legs.

After a succession of corners, the Dane had to slide out at Dimitar Berbatov's feet, soon after the Bulgarian had replaced Owen, who was one of six changes Sir Alex Ferguson had made to his starting line-up from an opening day win over Birmingham City.

Burnley were brave as the clock, in typical Fergie fashion, indicated four added minutes.

Rooney, searching for his 100th goal, didn't get it, and Burnley wrapped up their first Premier League points.

Click here to view a gallery of pictures from the game.