Veteran midfielder Graham Alexander marked his 100th league appearance for Burnley with a brace to help his side recapture their winning ways at Turf Moor with a 2-0 win over a beleaguered Hull City side whose manager Phil Brown finds his job hanging by a thread.

Alexander has missed only one league match – through suspension – since signing for the Clarets in August 2007 and it was fitting that it was his return to form that prompted Burnley to a deserved victory.

It is widely reported that returning chairman Adam Pearson will give Brown at least one more game to save himself, but on this turgid display from the Tigers, his days appear to be numbered.

Brown would have reason to be upset at an erratic refereeing display from Mike Jones – the beach-ball goal-allowing official – who gave Burnley a soft penalty and disallowed a seemingly good free-kick equaliser from Geovanni, before sending the midfielder off minutes later.

But although the headlines will rightly be all about the apparently impending managerial change at Hull and Jones’ performance with the whistle, that should not detract from another solid performance from the Clarets, earning them their fifth home win of the season.

Burnley made all the early play and were rewarded midway through the half when Wade Elliott’s superbly weighted pass found Tyrone Mears, who had rampaged up the right flank to cut into the area. Stephen Hunt was pulling Mears’ shirt, but it looked as though the defender had simply lost his footing as he looked to cross the ball.

However, Jones thought differently and awarded the penalty, which Alexander gleefully smashed home low past Matt Duke in the Hull goal. Duke was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers for the rest of the half as Burnley took advantage of their good fortune, Elliott and Eagles both forcing good saves from Duke, while at the other end, only Seyi Olofinjana tested Brian Jensen in the Burnley goal.

Hull should have been level early in the second half. A smart move saw Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink play in Olofinjana, but the midfielder refused to shoot when the opportunity presented itself and instead passed to Kamel Ghilas who wasted the chance by firing straight at Jensen.

But then the crucial moment in the match arrived. Hunt drove with pace at the heart of the Burnley defence, although by the time he stumbled under Steven Caldwell’s challenge he had lost control of the ball. It was a soft free-kick and Geovanni looked to have taken full advantage, floating the set piece over the wall and into the top corner, despite Jensen’s best efforts to keep it out.

But Jones had seen a push on Elliott by Olofinjana in the wall and harshly disallowed the goal. The Hull players couldn’t believe their misfortune and Geovanni was booked for his understandably furious reaction. The Brazilian still seemed irked by Jones’ decision and moments later picked up his second yellow card after coming through the back of Steven Fletcher, giving Jones no choice but to give him his marching orders.

Burnley always looked to be in control of the match from that point and sealed the win when Alexander strode on to substitute Kevin McDonald’s pass to rifle home low past Duke from outside the penalty area.

The hosts had countless opportunities to extend their lead as Hull grew more careless at the back, but anything more than 2-0 would have flattered the Clarets. Burnley got the rub of the green with all of the match’s big decisions going in their favour.

Brown’s pre-match comments that his players were ‘a million per cent behind him’ were made to look foolish by both Geovanni’s lack of thought in getting himself sent off with the game still well balanced and an infantile temper tantrum from Paul McShane after the defender was substituted.

The Hull manager spoke defiantly after the game but he looks a certainty to be out of a job by the end of 2009, a year in which Hull have gone from impressive high-fliers in their debut Premier League season to relegation dog-fighters.

In contrast, the Turf Moor garden is as rosy as ever with Burnley, arguably this season’s surprise success story as Hull were last, climbing back into the top half of the table.

This report was written for FansOnline.

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