A glancing header from Jay Rodriguez was enough for Burnley to beat Watford 1-0 and ensure they remain unbeaten at Turf Moor in the Premier League since New Year's Day.
It was the old football cliche of a game of two half, with Burnley by far the better side in the first as Matej Vydra hit the post and Rodriguez had an effort cleared off the line by Craig Dawson.
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But Watford were much improved in the second half - Troy Deeney also have a chance beaten off the line by Dwight McNeil - but against the run of play, Rodriguez glanced a header home to score his 50th Burnley goal.
It moves Burnley move up to 11th on 42 points but for Watford, they remain one point above the relegation zone with seven games to play, although with a superior goal difference to those below them.
How Burnley saw off Watford
At a sweltering Turf Moor, Burnley went close twice in the opening ten minutes. Rodriguez collected a floated pass on the right and volleyed it goalwards with his first touch. It forced a save from Ben Foster that sent the ball looping into the area, before he flapped it further clear as Jack Cork lurked to net the rebound. Not long after, McNeil found Josh Brownhill, but the midfielder could only direct his header wide of the far post.
Burnley should have gone ahead in the 21st minute when they had two glorious chances. Vydra lobbed the ball over the oncoming Foster from the left flank, but with an open goal to aim for, the striker could only hit the near post. The rebound then fell to Rodriguez, but his volley was cleared off the line by the waiting Dawson before Brownhill drove his own effort wide of the far post.
Burnley: Pope (6), Lowton (7), Mee (7), Taylor (7), Brownhill (7), Westwood (7), Cork (7), McNeil (8), Rodriguez (7), Vydra (7).
Subs used: Pieters (6).
Watford: Foster (6), Femenia (6), Kabasele (6), Dawson (7), Masina (6), Capoue (7), Hughes (7), Sarr (7), Cleverley (6), Welbeck (7), Deeney (7).
Subs used: Cathcart (7), Doucoure (7), Chalobah (n/a), Gray (n/a).
Man of the match: Dwight McNeil.
Dawson - who scored a late equaliser again Leicester at the weekend - almost netted again in Watford's best chance of the first half. Tom Cleverley delivered the first corner of the game and the Watford defender rose up to nod goalwards, but could only divert it over the crossbar.
Watford made two half time changes and they look much improved after the break. A spot of luck almost saw them score just after the hour mark as Nick Pope spilled a Will Hughes corner, but substitute Craig Cathcart could only put his shot into the body of the goalkeeper.
- Sean Dyche named the same starting XI from Monday. The only changes were on the bench with Phil Bardsley and Mace Goodridge joining thelist.
- Watford made two changes, with Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck coming into the XI. Abdoulaye Doucoure and Roberto Pereyra dropped to the bench.
Not long after, the visitors had their own chance cleared off the line. Etienne Capoue swung a corner into the area, which Deeney glanced goalwards, but McNeil was waiting on the line to clear with his shins. Hughes was lurking at the top of the area and struck the rebound, but could only fire well over the crossbar.
But in the 73rd minute, and against the run of play, Burnley took the lead. Browhill released McNeil down the left flank and his low cross was turned home by Rodriguez's glanced header, who had peeled away from Dawson.
Both teams went close to scoring again as the game wore on. Vydra burst into the area, rounded Cathcart before striking but it went straight at the outstretched legs of Foster. On the stroke of 90 minutes, Capoue delivered another good corner with Adam Masina driving in to meet it, but could only direct his header over the crossbar.
Burnley fans support Black Lives Matter
Before Thursday's game, Burnley showed messages of support for the Black Lives Matter movement from their fans after a plane was flown over the Etihad Stadium on Monday with a banner reading 'White Lives Matter Burnley'.
Captain Ben Mee made an impassioned speech about the importance of Black Lives Matter following the game and many Burnley figures have also condemned the act.
What the managers said
Burnley manager Sean Dyche: "It's been a tough week on and off the pitch for the club and for a group of players who give a lot, you saw that tonight. We believe in no excuses here and whatever the challenge is, we try and get on with it and I think we did tonight. Over the game, I think we just about edged it in the end.
"He [McNeil] is a joy to work with, that's for sure. He gets on with it, very unassuming, he's a good pro, the lads like him for it and they respect him and look after him. He was having a quiet one in the second half, I thought he was decent in the first half, but that's what Dwight does, he sticks in his mentality to keep performing and find a moment is superb. He's still a very young player and he's delivering nicely.
"I'm still here you know, I've had this before [rumours about leaving the club] many times but I'm still here, I'm still with the players, I'm still working with them. I get on with it, as you saw tonight. Someone wrote that it's the first time in seven and a half years that I've questioned the board. I think that's pretty good and we have a few challenges here so I think that's pretty decent, I'll take that."
Watford manager Nigel Pearson: "I think what I have to do is reflect on the game as a whole and I think we were pretty fortunate to come in at half-time level. We didn't particularly impose ourselves on the game and we made too many unforced errors. That really makes it difficult to play with any cohesion and I think that was our biggest problem in the first half.
"The irony is our second-half performance was much better, we had opportunities but had been switched off from a goal kick and concede a goal from it. In some ways, it's a missed opportunity but there's no point dwelling on situations like this. We've missed the chance to pick points up, but you've got to give them credit, they're good at what they do and they saw the game out. So even though we had the opportunities to put the ball into dangerous areas, we didn't get our quality right as well.
"So sometimes those things together conspire to make it even more difficult to pick points up but we have to move on. There's no point me spending too much time looking at the negatives now. Yes, the players know exactly how I feel about it and also, they know themselves that we didn't play that we know that we can for long enough periods. It's a disappointment but we get over it, get on with it and look forward to the next game now."
Man of the match - Dwight McNeil
The 20-year-old continues to blossom at Burnley and Thursday's game was no exception. McNeil's passing and crossing was superb, making two key passes, six crosses with five of those from open play. This included the assist for the winner, sending in a low effort that Rodriguez converted.
He also made a vital block on the line to deny Deeney a goal and showed his defensive instincts in that moment too. With Burnley down to the bare bones for the next few games, he will be more than vital and there will likely be eyes on him elsewhere too.
- Watford have failed to score in three consecutive away league outings for the first time since May 2018 (eight in a row).
- Only league leaders Liverpool and second-placed Manchester City have won more Premier League games in 2020 than Burnley (five).
- Jay Rodriguez's winning goal for Burnley came from what was their first shot of the second half against Watford.
Live Renault Super Sunday
Burnley are next in action on Monday 29 June when they travel to Crystal Palace (kick-off 8pm). Watford will play again on Sunday as they welcome Southampton to Vicarage Road, live on Sky Sports (kick-off 4.30pm).