After experiencing relegation from the Premier League with the Clarets earlier in his career, Jack Cork returned to Turf Moor to put a dent in the club’s survival hopes this term.
The midfielder, signed by Swansea City boss Garry Monk from Southampton in January, was heavily involved in the away side’s winner whick kept his former employer’s swamped in the division’s bottom three.
The 25-year-old, who made 57 appearances for the Clarets after joining on loan from Chelsea in February 2010, stabbed an effort against Kieran Trippier before Tom Heaton fumbled the ball over the line in the melee that ensued.
And it proved another missed opportunity for Sean Dyche’s side who failed to benefit from Aston Villa’s and Hull City’s respective losses to Newcastle United and Stoke City, while rivals QPR weren’t in action due to Chelsea’s involvement in the Capital One Cup final.
Unfortunately the hosts couldn’t replicate the fire that sparked a storm at Stamford Bridge last weekend, and rattled Blues boss Jose Mourinho in the aftermath.
Credit, though, goes to the Swans who stole victory in a manner that mirrored their last triumph on the road against Southampton at St Mary’s at the start of the month.
Marshalled expertly by skipper Ashley Williams, the Swans were organised without possession and slowed the game down with the ball in a bid to prevent the home side from lifting their game.
The Clarets did, however, apply the early pressure and forced the first opportunity when Lukasz Fabianski saved George Boyd’s shot on the turn after the ball had been fired in to the winger by Ashley Barnes.
Barnes, who had been attacked in the media by Mourinho following the incident with Nemanja Matic throughout the week, was denied by a superb point blank save from Fabianski midway through the half as the ball ricocheted in to his path via Kyle Naughton and Williams.
There was a nice balance to the visitors, enhanced by the capture of Cork, though it was Shelvey that caused problems from deep.
The 23-year-old’s vision and precision unlocked the Burnley defence on numerous occasions throughout the afternoon, with the first helping Wayne Routledge ghost goal side of Trippier only for the winger to lift the ball over Heaton before watching it drop wide of the far post.
Shelvey was at the heart of City’s next attack, picking up Heaton’s poor pass to provide Bafetimbi Gomis with possession but the goalkeeper made amends by saving to his left to thwart the Frenchman.
Moments later Shelvey steered a pass in to Gomis, who avoided being penalised for a shirt pull on Jason Shackell to race clear and fire wide of the upright.
And in first half stoppage time Shelvey was involved again, this time bending the ball wide of the post from the edge of the box after trading passes with Routledge.
Last weekend the “Special One” identified four key moments that supposedly went against his players in the stalemate. Those were minutes 30, 33, 43 and 69. Well this week Dyche could’ve pinpointed two, in minutes 51 and 84.
For the first referee Jonathan Moss waved away penalty appeals when the ball appeared to flick the arm of Swans defender Federico Fernandez. Michael Kightly forced the issue when cutting inside from the left past Naughton and poking an effort at Fabianski, with the ball spinning on to the arm of his team-mate.
The second incident also saw Moss ignore penalty appeals as Neil Taylor wrestled with substitute Sam Vokes inside the penalty area from Scott Arfield’s centre.
Just before the hour Barnes went close again when cushioning Trippier’s cross beautifully with one touch and spinning Fernandez to volley just wide with a second.
But disaster struck for the Clarets in the 62nd minute. Shelvey’s corner was flicked on by Gomis who was unchallenged, an unmarked Cork forced an excellent save from Heaton six yards out, but the midfielder reacted quickly and his rebound bounced off the torso of Trippier towards Heaton who fumbled the ball over the line.
Fabianski floated to his left to save from Barnes as the hosts sought a response before the Poland international flicked Vokes’s effort around the upright as the striker connected with Boyd’s delivery.
As the game wore on the away side went close to doubling their advantage. Substitute Jefferson Montero rifled over the bar following Routledge’s break before Nelson Oliveira, also introduced by Monk in the second half, watched his effort role agonisingly across the line after he picked up on Ben Mee’s poor back pass.
It’s now seven games without a win in all competitions for the Clarets, who march on to Anfield on Wednesday evening to face Liverpool.