PHOTOS: Burnley 2, Barnsley 0

OKAY, it wasn’t a candlelit dinner for two at an exclusive restaurant.

But this was the perfect Valentines Night out - especially if you are a football romantic.

For those who had managed to obtain a hall pass, or even persuaded the other half to come along, there was something for everyone to enjoy, unless you were Keith Hill and Barnsley.

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There was an early goal - an 18th of a season that just gets better and better - for a player at the peak of his powers in Jay Rodriguez.

There was controversy as Charlie Austin’s header, which looked to have definitely cross the line, wasn’t given.

There was relief as Austin put the game to bed, and ended his worst personal goal drought, with the clincher.

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Danny Ings finally made his Burnley debut six months after signing from Bournemouth, after battling back from a knee injury, and, the most romantic moment of the night, an emotional minute’s applause, backed by chants of “There’s only one Barry Kilby.”

The entire home support - and members of staff - joined in on 13 minutes, to acknowledge the chairman’s 13 years at the helm, which he will bring to a close in the summer as he steps down to fight cancer.

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A modest man, Kilby was clearly moved by the gesture as he got to his feet to show his appreciation, and, warmed by the generosity of spirit from his fellow Clarets, he will certainly have enjoyed what he saw from Eddie Howe’s side, as they earned a victory that was far more comprehensive than the scoreline suggests.

Howe had looked for a response to the disappointing manner of Saturday’s defeat at Southampton, and he certainly got one.

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Burnley and Barnsley went into the game as the only clubs in the Championship not to have lost by more than two goals in at least one game this season, and the Clarets should be standing alone in that respect.

That they aren’t was down to a poor decision - not the first on the night - to play on when Austin thumped the outstanding Kieran Trippier’s corner goalwards, and while Luke Steele got a hand to it, David Perkins cleared the ball from behind the line.

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Profligate finishing also kept the Tykes in the game, before Austin gave Burnley a deserved cushion on the hour.

But the Clarets played with renewed energy and aggression, while some of their one-touch passing and movement was excellent.

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Hill felt Barnsley made an “excellent” side look better than they really are, but while the visitors were dismal - slow to close down and sloppy in possession - they were on the back foot from the off, and weren’t allowed time and space on the ball.

The Clarets’ wing play was a joy to behold, particularly down the right, where Ross Wallace and Trippier, against his former club, led debutant Scott Golbourne a merry dance.

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The opener came down the side as early as the third minute, as Austin held the ball up for Wallace, and he turned Golbourne inside and out before delivering a a left-foot cross to the back post.

Josh McQuoid got up superbly and guided his header beyond Steele, with the ball dropping in inside the opposite post - Rodriguez making sure with a poacher’s instinct.

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Burnley continued to mine the right flank, and Trippier tried his luck with a left-foot strike, before Austin headed over a Trippier cross.

More flowing football saw McQuoid feed the ball into Austin, and he flipped it on for Rodriguez, whose volley whizzed just wide.

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The Clarets might have had a penalty when Chris McCann was clipped by Scott Wiseman as he shaped to shoot, but, bizarrely, referee Oliver Langford booked the skipper, presumably for a dive - a ridiculous decision, made worse late in the game when he booked Michael Duff when substitute Chris Dagnall appeared to make the most of any contact by going to ground easily.

Just before half-time, Duff had a header from a Trippier corner saved, before Austin’s “goal” that wasn’t.

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Trippier’s lung-busting runs and bag of tricks down the right continued to provide opportunities in the second half, as first McCann headed wide after a nutmeg on Golbourne, before Rodriguez nodded over after stepovers beat Dagnall.

You wondered if Burnley would be made to pay, and Barnsley’s only threat of the night saw Craig Davies almost break the woodwork - a glorious strike hit the angle, something of a let-off.

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Within moments, however, Wallace broke with intent and supplied the industrious Dean Marney, who played in Rodriguez. His shot hit the post, but Austin turned the rebound home for his first goal in seven appearances. McQuoid dragged a volley beyond the far post and Austin stubbed an effort wide, but the three points keep the Clarets in the play-off chase.