Andre Gray took his tally to eight for the season as Burnley survived a late scare on Hallowe’en to beat Huddersfield Town 2-1 and move within two points of league leaders Brighton.
Gray netted a spot kick in the 12th minute to give the Clarets the lead and scored again before the break close the gap on Reading’s Nick Blackman in the division’s goalscoring charts.
After Harry Bunn’s left-footed strike looped wide of the far upright via a deflection off George Boyd, the Clarets went ahead.
Leading scorer Gray spooked Joel Lynch with his frightening trickery and pace and the Terriers defender lunged in to concede the penalty.
Record signing Gray stepped up, tricked goalkeeper Jed Steer in to diving to his right and treated the home support to an opening goal, slotting the spot kick down the middle.
Town striker Ishmael Miller shaped a ghoulish attempt in to the David Fishwick Stand when leaning backwards inside the area while Steer claimed Vokes’s bending effort at the opposite end midway through the half.
Burnley’s brightest spell arrived on the half-hour mark as a slick and incisive spell pulled holes in the away side’s banks and pinned Chris Powell’s men back.
Derby hero Scott Arfield, who condemned Rovers to an early grave last weekend at Ewood, forced a block at the near post after spinning Mustapha Carayol from Ben Mee’s pass before George Boyd inflicted similar punishment on Martin Cranie though his cross flashed by Sam Vokes and Gray.
Burnley probed again moments later as Boyd forced Steer in to a low save at his near post after Gray out-muscled Lynch from Joey Barton’s pass to assist the winger on the angle of the penalty area.
Sean Dyche’s side were dominant but with the threat posed by the likes Jamie Paterson, Emyr Huws, Carayol, and Bunn they needed a second.
And that arrived two minutes prior to the interval as Gray sank his teeth in to the visitors once more.
David Jones had the vision to pick out Vokes, the Welshman slipped Gray goal side of Terriers skipper Mark Hudson and the £6m man beat Steer at his near post with a thumping right-footed drive from an improbable angle.
Under the eerie, wintry skies that loitered precariously above Turf Moor, the hosts continued to dictate the momentum.
Miller flashed an ambitious effort across Tom Heaton and wide of the far post as Town tried to claw their way back in to the Championship fixture.
Michael Keane looped a header over the bar from Jones’s corner before Dean Whitehead was booked for launching himself at Gray in zombie-like fashion to prevent the striker from penetrating Town’s defensive line. Barton’s free-kick from 30 yards in the aftermath found the gloves of Steer.
The away side had their chances to get back in to the game, though. Lynch hooked wide of the post once Paterson’s corner dropped in the defender’s vicinity while substitute Nakhi Wells, who had earlier replaced Miller, spurned a huge opportunity when cushioning the ball wide of the upright after moving goal side of Keane from Paterson’s pass.
Seconds earlier, however, the home side went within inches of extending their advantage. Jones’s set-piece was flicked in to the air, Boyd beat Steer to the ball but Lynch was perfectly positioned to head off the line.
Wells went close again when turning sharply on the edge of the box and shaped an effort towards the corner, but Heaton was alert and sprawled to his left to turn the ball to safety.
Arfield sliced wide of the target after driving at Town’s rearguard in the next attack but the Clarets were reliant on Heaton again as he beat away Huws’s stinging drive.
The hosts were comfortable and went within a post’s width of adding a third when Keane struck the woodwork with a header, but that all changed in the 88th minute.
Cranie broke down the right, attempted to pick out Wells inside the six yard box, but Michael Duff committed and slid the ball past Heaton and in to his own net to make it 2-1.
Town applied the pressure late on and could’ve salvaged a point but Bunn blazed over the bar when well positioned inside the box.