Jeff Hendrick was the hero for Burnley again as his strike from close range handed the Clarets another important three points in a game of few chances against Newcastle United.
Tense stalemate in the opening 45 minutes
The major team news centred around both sets of strikers as Chris Wood missed out through injury, whilst Sam Vokes and Dwight Gayle could only make their sides' respective benches after partially recovering from knocks.
With Ashley Barnes leading the line in the absence of Sean Dyche's two premier strikers, added pressure would have been placed on the shoulders of Jeff Hendrick to support the tireless striker. The Republic of Ireland international found himself just where the home fans were hoping to see him as he created space behind the Newcastle defence and fired wide within the first minute after a long ball was flicked into his path. Hendrick then saw a header deflected wide by Jonjo Shelvey after a Robbie Brady corner just moments later.
It was an offensive start from the hosts but Newcastle created a chance of their own after seeing out the opening ten minutes. Jack Cork failed to clear his lines from a corner before Christian Atsu swiped the rebound over after his pace initially created the set-piece opportunity.
Burnley were beginning to lose their tempo due to the growing influence of Shelvey. The central midfielder was starting to create numerous attacks with his range of passing and he almost finished one move after Atsu laid the ball to him on the edge of the box. Yet Shelvey could only fire straight at Nick Pope.
At the other end of the pitch, Robbie Brady was looking the most likely to create something for the Clarets as so often is the case. The winger whipped in a dangerous free-kick that was flicked into the path of James Tarkowski who acrobatically improvised to get a strike away but could only find the side-netting. Brady then showed his talent in open play as he curled a ball onto Barnes' head but the lone striker could only glance wide.
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The contest drifts again after brief moments of quality
Newcastle really struggled to get their two most advanced players into the contest within the first 45 minutes but they immediately linked up after the break. A neat touch from Joselu created space for Ayoze Perez and his curled strike forced Pope to tip the effort around the post.
However, Burnley threatened themselves moments later through their common aerial threat. A deep free-kick from Brady found Tarkowski but he could only cushion his header straight at Rob Elliot.
Yet the contest began to drift, as it did through patches of the first half, with neither side finding the creative quality to break down organised defensive units on either side of the pitch.
Smash and grab from Hendrick
As the game entered the final 20 minutes, a barrage of mistakes out of sync with the game created space between the lines for Burnley. The ball bounced invitingly for Cork who saw a half-volley deflected just wide with Elliot scrambling.
Cork, who has been impressive defensively so far this season, then had an even more effective impact in the following attack. After a strong Burnley press, Cork linked up with Johann Berg Gudmundsson before seeing his effort parried away. Berg Gudmundsson then fired the rebound across goal, picking out an unmarked Hendrick who fired into the roof of the net from a couple of yards.
Rafa Benitez responded with a trio of substitutions but it was right-back DeAndre Yedlin who almost created an organised. A powerful surge before a clever pass to Joselu opened up space for the Spaniard but he dragged his strike wide.
Burnley have been adept at defending in numbers and forcing their opponents into efforts from range. Newcastle simply could not find a way through and Shelvey could only fire a speculative strike straight at Pope.
The hosts went close to scoring again as Hendrick laid the ball to Barnes before the striker forced Elliot into a full-stretch save. Isaac Hayden then hit a carbon copy strike as Pope turned the ball past the post.
Javier Manquillo flicked a late header over but Newcastle, as so many teams are finding against Burnley this year, could not find a breakthrough against an organised defensive unit and the Clarets held on in a typical display to climb above Benitez' side and into seventh.