Burnley continued their excellent start to the season with a hard-fought victory over struggling Crystal Palace, leaving manager Frank de Boer at risk of becoming the first Premier League manager to receive his marching orders in 2017-18.
Wood capitalises on poor Lee error in the third minute
With suggestions that de Boer could be relieved of his duties if Palace did not get a positive result at Turf Moor, it was key for the Eagles to get off to a strong start. Yet they shot themselves in the foot as early as the third minute when Lee Chung-Yong played a blind backpass straight to Chris Wood. The New Zealand striker, who grabbed a hat-trick last week on international duty, continued his good form in front of goal by clipping an effort around Wayne Hennessey and into the back of the net with just three minutes on the clock.
That goal sparked an open couple of minutes as both sides battled to score next. Scott Dann saw a shot cleared off the line before Christian Benteke headed wide as Palace continued to search for their first goal of the season. Stephen Ward then picked out Sam Vokes with an excellent cross as the Welshman headed just off-target in an electric opening ten minutes.
Jeffrey Schlupp and Chris Wood exchanged blocked shots at either end before Dann failed to convert another half chance from a Palace corner. Such an outlet was proving to be the best hope for the visiting side and James McArthur headed wide from a further corner midway through the half.
With ten minutes remaining of an intriguing first half, Tom Heaton fell awkwardly on his shoulder after claiming another Palace cross. The England goalkeeper trundled off in pain to be replaced by Nick Pope, making his first league appearance since May 2016. Yet the Eagles failed to really test the replacement before the break with Andros Townsend's weak long-range effort the only time Pope was called into action.
Burnley look to defend in numbers
Palace did at least start the second half in a better fashion as Schlupp picked out Benteke only for the Belgian to head wide. Yet Burnley had decided to sit on their lead and effectively kill the tempo of the game.
As attacking plays continued to break down for de Boer, the Dutchman responded with a move that may have been viewed as a desperate throw of the dice. Teenager Levi Lumeka was thrown into the mix to try and shake things up. That he nearly did. Within seven minutes of coming on, Lumeka was found by Townsend but his header was deflected just over.
Burnley had shown little in the way of attacking intent since the restart but another substitute, Ashley Barnes, tested Hennessey with a curling effort that forced the Welsh goalkeeper into a full stretch save.
Benteke and Dann miss clear opportunities
Then came a critical moment in the contest with 77 minutes on the clock. Benteke burst away from Ben Mee and found himself through on goal with Pope. Yet the goalkeeper spread himself wide and thwarted the Belgian with a crucial outstretched leg.
As Palace began to throw more and more at the Burnley defence, the Clarets only became more valiant. James Tarkowski produced a great block to deny Dann before Townsend saw a deflected effort fire wide. Yet the Eagles should have been level with two minutes to play. Yohan Cabaye found Dann with a pinpoint delivery only for the defender to head wide with the goal gaping just two yards in front of him.
It proved the last chance for Palace, and possibly de Boer, as Burnley held on for their second win of the season to lift them to seventh in the league. Meanwhile, Palace remain rooted in the relegation zone with no goals, no points and possibly no manager come Monday morning.