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It was looking like the perfect day for Burnley against Crystal Palace before captain Ben Mee had to be stretchered off in a neck brace.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Jay Rodriguez fired the Clarets into a two-goal lead inside the opening ten minutes at Selhurst Park, with Matthew Lowton adding a Dani Alves-eque third shortly after half-time.

Lowton’s stunning run and finish will live long in the memory

AFP

Lowton’s stunning run and finish will live long in the memory

But Mee suffered a nasty knock 12 minutes from time which saw him prone for a lengthy period, before eventually being withdrawn on a stretcher while wearing a neck brace.

Reports indicated that Mee was walking around by the time the full-time whistle was blown, in a huge boost for Sean Dyche.

There was a lengthy break as Mee received treatment on the pitch

Getty – Pool

There was a lengthy break as Mee received treatment on the pitch

The win over a Wilfried Zaha-less Palace moves Burnley 11 points clear of the bottom three and into a brilliant position to secure Premier League survival for another year.

The Eagles, meanwhile, have just two wins in their past eight games in all competitions and remain entirely reliant on star forward Zaha.

In fact, Palace have now lost 18 of their last 20 Premier League games when Zaha hasn’t played, failing to score in 16 of those 18 defeats.

Without their top goalscorer due to a hamstring injury, Christian Benteke and Michy Batshuayi started together up front for only the second time this season but for a third consecutive game the hosts conceded early.

It was largely down to their own doing too with Scott Dann and Patrick Van Aanholt failing to clear Erik Pieters’ cross from deep and Gudmundsson teed himself up before he fired into the corner after five minutes.

Burnley should have doubled their advantage four minutes later when Ashley Barnes’ shot was deflected behind for a corner by Dann but they did not have to wait long for a second.

Questions will continue to be asked about Roy Hodgson following Palace’s latest defeat

AFP

Questions will continue to be asked about Roy Hodgson following Palace’s latest defeat

From the resulting set-piece, Dwight McNeil’s inswinging delivery was not dealt with by home goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and Rodriguez had the easy task of heading home from inside the six-yard area.

It was more poor defending by the Eagles, but Rodriguez did not complain after bringing his 20-match wait for a top-flight goal to its conclusion.

A couple of efforts from Benteke signalled the hosts’ eagerness to get back into the contest yet both were comfortable for Nick Pope.

In Zaha’s absence, the onus was on Ebere Eze to create for Palace and he curled wide following good work by Jordan Ayew from the opposite flank.

With the deficit at the break still two goals, Hodgson’s men had to start strongly after half-time and the opposite happened.

Burnley put in a top-class performance in south London

AFP

Burnley put in a top-class performance in south London

Full-back Lowton had not scored in the Premier League since April 2013 and he became the most recent player to break a duck at Selhurst Park.

The defender produced a marauding run on the right, dribbling past Eze and Luka Milivojevic with ease before he bounced past Van Aanholt.

After he played a one-two with Rodriguez on the edge of the area, Lowton applied the desired finish when he brilliantly volleyed home to make it 3-0 after 47 minutes.

Palace summoned Andros Townsend and Jean-Philippe Mateta but the race was run for the home side, while the visitors had their perfect afternoon soured by Mee’s withdrawal on a stretcher seven minutes from time.



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