Burnley 1 Middlesbrough 0: Gray ends drought at fortress Turf Moor

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Andre Gray scored his first goal in 10 Premier League appearances to secure Burnley a potentially crucial 1-0 win over Middlesbrough at Turf Moor on Monday.

The striker, who netted 23 times in Burnley's Championship-winning campaign last season, has found life difficult in the top flight and served a four-match ban earlier in the campaign for offensive messages posted on Twitter four years ago.

It looked for long periods as though this largely turgid affair - featuring 11 yellow cards - would peter out into a dour goalless draw between two sides fighting to retain their Premier League status, until Gray's intervention 10 minutes from time.

A long ball from Tom Heaton was flicked on by substitute Sam Vokes, and although Gray's first-time volley was powerful, Victor Valdes ought to have done better than spill it over the line.

The victory means Burnley have taken all but one of their 20 points at Turf Moor this season, while Boro are yet to win on the road since their 2-1 success at Sunderland in August.

Sean Dyche's side face another big home clash on New Years Eve, at home to Sunderland, while Boro travel to Old Trafford to take on an in-form Manchester United.

Cristhian Stuani represented Boro's solitary change from the 3-0 win over Swansea City last time out and it was he who wasted the game's opening chance in the 12th minute, volleying wide when Burnley failed to deal with Antonio Barragan's long ball.

Valdes kept out Ashley Barnes' low drive as Burnley responded, before shouts for a penalty for handball against Calum Chambers were waved away by referee Craig Pawson.

Valdes' parry denied George Boyd's thumping drive from a free-kick as the hosts applied further pressure.

Burnley goalkeeper Heaton made comfortable saves from Gaston Ramirez's free-kick and Stuani's header in the second half, but there was little action of note until Gray's winner.

Vokes and Gray linked up with great effect, the latter smashing a volley from just inside the box that Valdes could only desperately fumble over the line as the Clarets celebrated another profitable home outing to move above their opponents into 14th.