Burnley beat a post-war record at Turf Moor while climbing back in to the Championship top two with a 3-1 win against Millwall.
Alan Brown first achieved the feat of 18 league games unbeaten between August and April in the 1956/57 campaign, while Jimmy Adamson equalled that in 1973, between March and December.
But Sean Dyche went one better when entertaining his former employers as a Danny Ings double and a Dean Marney strike saw the hosts fight back from Martyn Woolford’s opener.
The result marked another miserable afternoon in East Lancashire for Lions’ boss Ian Holloway, who now hasn’t won at Turf Moor in 12 visits, while Dyche, who watched from the bench as Millwall lost to Birmingham City over two legs in the play-off semi-final in 2002, made it 12 wins and two draws against his former club as a player, coach and manager.
Playing in to swirling winds and relentless rain, the Clarets failed to find a momentum as the visitors employed a high line and pressed well through DJ Campbell, Steve Morison, Nadjim Abdou and Woolford.
Holloway’s side were content to watch the hosts clock up their possession percentages at the back, while causing severe restrictions in any attempts to move forward.
Tom Heaton was forced to turn Lee Martin’s speculative centre around the upright early on as the wind carried the ball awkwardly, before Woolford rifled in to the stands from the angle of the penalty box once Morison had found space coming in from the left.
The Clarets fought back as Scott Malone cleared at the back post as Michael Kightly’s looping cross threatened, while Sam Vokes powered a header over the bar from Kieran Trippier’s sublimely whipped centre after Michael Duff stopped Campbell in his tracks on the break.
But, after Trippier brought down Ed Upson, Martin crafted the opener. The winger’s set-piece was nodded clear by Duff, but only as far as Woolford on the edge of the box who guided a volley through a wall of players and in to the corner.
However, the home side showed great character to respond immediately and levelled in the 28th minute. Holloway bemoaned his side’s organisation in the build-up, with his midfield initially shielding the back four with aplomb, but Trippier found the angle to feed Ings and the striker turned Shaun Williams before lashing an effort in to the roof of the net.
From that point the hosts began to take command, and Scott Arfield went close with a header from close range after Vokes and Ings helped on Jason Shackell’s pass. Burnley’s leading scorer then had the ball taken from his toe by a last ditch challenge from Martin, with a beautifully improvised nutmeg from Arfield on Upson providing the opportunity.
Keith Stroud’s next decision was highly contested by the visitors, both on the pitch, in the dug-out, and in the stands, as the referee pointed to the spot with Abdou adjudged to have hacked down Ings. The England Under 21 international picked himself up to take the spot kick but was denied by Bywater who fell to his right to save. It was Ings’s first penalty miss since May 2011 when Huddersfield Town’s Ian Bennett stopped him from 12 yards out in the League One play-off semi-final.
The Clarets did go in to the break with the advantage though, with Dean Marney grabbing his first of the season on the stroke of half-time, just moments after Bywater turned Arfield’s curling effort around the post with his fingertips. Once again Trippier proved the productive outlet as he swung a cross in to the box from the right, finding Arfield at the far post, and as the midfielder screened the ball from his marker, he layed the ball off to Marney who found the aperture between the post and Bywater with a tremendous finish.
Dyche’s side made their intentions clear from the restart, moving the ball quicker and adding a sharpness to their movement in a bid to get around the back of Millwall. That was the case when Trippier found Ings and Vokes in quick sucession, with the former seeing his effort blocked, while the latter was denied by Bywater from an acute angle.
Burnley’s third forced Holloway to go gung-ho in a desperate search for a result. Just prior to Ings’s 24th of the campaign, the Lions boss introduced Simeon Jackson at the expense of Martin. And once he’d netted the away side had four strikers on the pitch when Upson was withdrawn at the expense of Scott McDonald.
The winning goal was sandwiched in-between those changes - just after the hour - when Trippier’s exquisite diagonal pass, his 12th assist of the term - was controlled impeccably by Ings deep inside the area and he nonchalantly touched the ball beyond Bywater.
Millwall almost found a route back in to the game, rather fortuitously, as Ryan Frederick’s cross threatened to drop in at the far post, but Heaton back-peddled superbly to tip the ball on to the bar.
A string of substitutions from both managers saw Vokes replaced by Ashley Barnes, former Claret Richard Chaplow replace Abdou and Junior Stanislas introduced at the expense of Arfield.
The Clarets resumed their domination though, with a relentless onslaught and Bywater was again called in to action, floating to his right to turn Kightly’s attempt around the upright after the loanee had cut inside.
Ross Wallace then made his first appearance since August, coming on in place of Ings, while Stanislas forced Bywater to turn his set-piece over the bar in the fixture’s finale.