FULL TIME: Cardiff City 4, Burnley 0
PROSPECTIVE Clarets boss Sean Dyche watched on as Burnley were consigned to their heaviest defeat of the campaign at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The former Watford boss is believed to have been offered the managerial vacancy at Turf Moor by joint chairmen John Banaszkiewicz and Mike Garlick, though a decision has been stalled after Crystal Palace registered their interest in the one-time Hornetts defender.
But the fixture didn't make for pleasant viewing from a Claret perspective as they were comprehensively thrashed 4-0 by the Championship's new league leaders, Burnley's heaviest defeat since the Blackpool clash at Bloomfield Road in April.
And the away side never looked like tarnishing the Bluebirds' 100 per cent home record in a performance that lacked invention, conviction or momentum.
Joe Mason's early strike was a sign of things to come as Terry Pashley's side were engulfed with a wave of attacks from the hosts.
The deadlock was broken in the third minute when Don Cowie broke up play on the edge of his own box, dispossessing Dean Marney, and from Mason's break the ball found Craig Noone hogging the right touchline; the crafty winger then cut inside Joe Mills and bent a sublime left-footed effort beyond Lee Grant which struck the inside of the far post and Mason pounced to tap home from close range.
The Bluebirds were well in command throughout, their urgency and penetration punishing the Clarets who were forced on the back foot. Malky Mackay's side were invigorating, neat in possession, their distribution pinpoint and intricate, and they showed a desire and hunger when not with the ball, denying their opponents the chance to play out from the back.
As City pressed again Noone's trickery forged a route past Junior Stanislas and his whipped cross to the back post found Heidur Helguson lurking dangerously but the Icelandic striker lost his footing at the crucial moment. Helguson worked the line well for the Bluebirds, and he was backed by Noone, Mason and Peter Whittingham as well as another layer of Don Cowie and Kim Bo-Kyung, and it was that resolute concoction that led to their next attack as Jason Shackell's header, intended for Charlie Austin, was jumped on and Whittingham freed Mason who thumped the post with a low right-footed effort across Grant.
Bo-Kyung went close moments later after receiving Noone's deflected pass and the midfielder showed good feet to work space on the edge of the box before pulling an attempt across Grant but wide of the post. But in the closing stages the home side's advantage was doubled when dangerman Noone raced in to a gulf of space ahead of the Burnley defence and fired a sweet strike goalwards from 20 yards that Grant got a hand to but failed to stop the effort from creeping over the line.
There wasn't a significant change in the rhythm of the match after the break, though the introduction of Sam Vokes, who replaced Stanislas, saw the Clarets retain the ball for slightly more prolonged periods in the final third.
Austin was denied an outright club record when a last ditch challenge foiled his attempt to score in nine consecutive matches from Mills' training ground corner routine.
In what proved to be a torrid afternoon for Mills, who was an enforced change after Ben Mee picked up his fifth booking of the season in the victory over Bristol City, Noone went close again as he twisted the left-back inside out, running the Reading loanee ragged, before clipping a delightful shot beyond Grant from the angle of the area that hit the upright.
Pashley's men registered a first attempt on target when substitute Danny Ings, on for the anonymous Martin Paterson, benefitted from Ben Turner's slip and squared for Vokes inside the area who forced Marshall in to an excellent save at his near post.
But, with the exception of a tame volley from Stock, that was it for the Clarets as City rallied once more. Noone, who made a lasting impression on a dismal afternoon in South Wales, had one final involvement when supplying the corner for an unmarked Matthew Connolly who headed past Grant to make it 3-0.
However, Noone's replacement, Fulham loan man Kerim Frei, impacted instantly as he raced on to Mason's pass before firing across the face of goal with fellow substitute Rudy Gestede just inches away from applying the necessary touch.
At times the hosts carved through the Clarets with inexcusable ease and that was the case with five minutes remaining when Turner's deep cross was headed in to the path of Aron Gunnarsson by Gestede and he made no mistake, calmly stroking the ball past Grant from close range to make it 4-0.