PHOTOS: Portsmouth 1, Burnley 5

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A SECOND-HALF hat-trick from striker Charlie Austin sealed an emphatic victory for the Clarets, their first in eight outings, against relegation-threatened Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

Both sides had to settle for a stalemate at the interval, with goals coming from Kieran Trippier and David Norris, though it was Pompey who had stamped their authority on the Championship fixture.

during Portsmouth v  Burnley, Npower Championship, Fratton Park, Saturday 31st March 2012.

during Portsmouth v Burnley, Npower Championship, Fratton Park, Saturday 31st March 2012.

However, it was all change after the break as the hosts lost their discipline and organisation as the Clarets took full advantage in a display brimming with energy, desire and determination to pick their opponents off with precision and expertise.

Neither Eddie Howe or Michael Appleton could take the initiative in to the interval as the Championship's youngest managers went head-to-head in Hampshire, a ground where the Burnley boss endured an injury-riddled period as a player under Harry Redknapp. But this was a much more prosperous visit for Howe.

After a slow start full-back Trippier gave the Clarets the lead in the 16th minute only for Norris to cancel out the opener just three minutes later.

The hosts, on the back of successive wins on home soil, set the tempo with midfield duo Norris and George Thorne stamping their authority in the centre of the park. But it was the Clarets who had the first opportunity of note as Ross Wallace's inswinging set-piece towards the penalty spot had Jamie Ashdown stranded and Ben Mee's header flashed wide of the angle.

But Pompey continued to set the rhythm after that brief interruption and Lee Grant had to be alert to bundle Tal Ben Haim's cross-shot out for a corner. However, the script was torn to pieces yet again as the Clarets took the lead against the run of play. A familiar corner routine, which has proven very fruitful this term, saw Dean Marney fizz a corner to the edge of the box, defender David Edgar provided the obligatory step over and Trippier took over the mantel from absent striker Jay Rodriguez to drill in to the corner.

That should have been the moment that forced the away side on the front foot, taking the sting out of the home side, but the lead lasted just three minutes when Norris levelled. Thorne's piercing pass split Burnley's rearguard and in the process found Luke Varney who got in behind Mee and squared for his team-mate whose controlled left-footed finish from just inside the six-yard box found the roof of the net.

Varney continued to cause problems down the right, enjoying ample time and space. And the forward's cross almost reaped the rewards though a deflection took the ball by Manchester City loanee Karim Rekik who was loitering with intent at the back post.

The young full-back, along with Ben Haim on the opposite side, were positive and fluent, both employed in the Clarets half looking for simple, yet intricate, give and gos to push Pompey forward. That, along with the pace and trickery of Scott Allen, embodied the hosts' desire, which had been expected as they look to retain their Championship status.

However, the Clarets continued to find answers on the break, with Martin Paterson the outlet. And after being stopped in his tracks by Rekik the striker put his laces through the ball and the effort drifted across the face of goal. Howe opted to change shape in the closing stages; Wallace moved infield and Ings forged a two-man strike force with Paterson in a 4-1-3-2 formation.

That seemed to quell Pompey's threat, limiting them to an Allen daisy-cutter for the remainder of the half which Grant dealt with low to his left. In fact it was the Clarets who almost took the advantage in to the break when Mee latched on to a one-two with Wallace, cut inside and forced Ashdown in to a superb save as he sought the far corner. The keeper palming over as he back-peddled towards his line.

But after the break the Clarets, intent on improving their 16th place position in the Championship hierarchy, took an early lead as Danny Ings scored his first goal for the club, and it was a spectacular way to open his account. Wallace, Marney and Edgar were all involved in the build-up and it was the latter's impressive centre that allowed Ings to ghost in front of his marker to glance past Ashdown.

Pompey proved uneconomical in possession and, as the frustration from the crowd grew more noticeable, the desperation translated on to the playing surface. Appleton's side rarely threatened and lacked the punch they had shown in the opening 45 minutes. A Varney header that floated wide being the only chance of note.

A double change from Appleton then seemed to manifest the role reversal. On came Kelvin Etuhu and Marko Futacs, in place of Ward and Thorne as Pompey opted for an attacking trio. But the change only served to open up the home side and the Clarets profitted.

Howe continued to urge his men forward from the sidelines sensing another goal. And it came. Wallace's free-kick caused panic among the Pompey defence and from substitute Josh McQuoid's flick-on, Charlie Austin, also on as a sub after replacing Paterson, bundled the ball home after taking a heavy touch.

Ashdown fisted McCann's drilled centre clear as the away side continued to close down and penetrate with intelligence though Austin's reward, a double dose, didn't arrive until time added on. The striker's second arrived in the third minute of six additional minutes when a poor back pass from skipper Jason Pearce was latched upon by Austin who, with complete composure, rounded Ashdown to slot in to an empty net.

And his 14th of the season, his fifth of the calendar year, came minutes later as another breakaway, prompted by third and final substitute Junior Stanislas, resulted in McQuoid squaring for Austin who swept the ball in to the roof of the net to make it 5-1 and secure the first hat-trick of his senior career.

The Clarets now entertain Birmingham City at Turf Moor on Tuesday evening as they look to gather momentum in their pursuit for the top 10.