Clarets boost play-off hopes

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Burnley edged their eagerly anticipated, all-important Roses clash with Sheffield United as Martin Paterson's header went a long way towards sealing a Coca-Cola Championship play-off berth.

The Northern Ireland international, who recovered from a hamstring complaint in time to partner Robbie Blake in attack, nodded home the decisive goal and his 18th of the season to end the South Yorkshire side's unbeaten record on the road which stretched back to October.

The game began at a furious pace and the hosts had the first real chance when Wade Elliott pounced on loose ball and drove at the Blades defence from midfield.

The Clarets midfielder shifted the ball onto his left foot, beating defender Chris Morgan in the process, and curled an effort beyond Paddy Kenny in the Blades goal and on to the angle of post and crossbar.

Blake proved a constant thorn in the Yorkshire club's side and after twisting and turning on the edge of the box found Christian Kalvenes. The Burnley left-back crossed for Chris McCann but his header did not trouble Kenny and flew over the crossbar.

The opening goal arrived in the 24th minute when Rhys Williams guided a cross into the near post area with a bit of bend and Paterson stole in to flick a header into the far corner of Kenny's goal.

A last-ditch intervention from Clarke Carlisle denied Craig Beattie a shot a goal in the closing stages of the first half, while Steven Caldwell diverted a goalbound shot over the bar as United looked to level.

Blake picked up where he left off causing trouble down the left flank and Elliott drew the first save of the half minutes after the break with a volleyed effort from the edge of the box which Kenny saved comfortably.

McCann raced down the left with 63 minutes on the clock and cleverly shipped the ball to Blake to stung the palms of Kenny with a thumping drive from 20 yards.

Paterson had a header ruled out for offside - but the Clarets held for the win to open up a four-point gap over seventh place.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Christian Kalvenes
Steven Caldwell
Wade Elliott
Craig Beattie
Carlisle United
Sheffield United
Robbie Blake
Clarke Carlisle
Rhys Williams
Chris McCann
Chris Morgan
Martin Paterson

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