HALF-TIME: Burnley FC 1 Brighton 0.

CLARETSLIVE: www.burnleyexpress.net/claretslive

CLARETSLIVE: www.burnleyexpress.net/claretslive

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CHARLIE Austin's 15th goal of the season gave the Clarets a half-time lead against Brighton at Turf Moor.

The striker reacted in predatory fashion to touch the ball past Peter Brezovan and fire in to an empty net in the 23rd minute after Seagulls skipper Gordon Greer had blocked the initial effort.

Eddie Howe's side set the tone early on, utilising the pace and movement of Kieran Trippier, Josh McQuoid, Danny Ings and Junior Stanislas down the flanks. The visitors, spurred on by former Chelsea midfielder Gus Poyet from the sidelines, seemed content on attacking on the break with Vicente using his experience and quality to manipulate the space and drive forward.

The Spanish flair player proved the instigator from Carl Boyeson's first whistle, crossing for Craig Mackail-Smith who headed over. After Marvin Bartley was harshly booked for a challenge on Alan Novarro in the centre circle, full-back Joe Matock tried his luck right-footed but his angled drive nestled deep in to the David Fishwick Stand.

But, despite Brighton's advances, the Clarets were comfortable and were denied a penalty as defender Adam El-Abd desperately dragged down Ings as ther ball broke for the teenager from McQuoid's centre. Vicente was in the thick of the action again moments later, finding the gulf in-between midfield and attack, before threading through for Sam Vokes. However, as the one-time Burnley loan man drove in to the area, he took a heavy touch and his effort was deflected wide from a tight angle.

Neither keeper was seriously tested; Brezovan called in to action on occasions to claim crosses. But the breakthrough arrived when Trippier and McQuoid teamed up down the right and the Millwall loanee guided the ball in to Austin who found success, confidently, at the second attempt.

The Clarets were settled, but in a bid to preserve their play-off ambitions Vicente pressed for a leveller. David Edgar's superb acrobatics on the edge of his own six-yard box prevented Mackail-Smith a clear opening from the Spaniard's clipped cross and Brighton's flair player went within inches of the equaliser himself as his strike from distance rose above the angle. And as the half petered out, Vokes's header looped wide of the post.