Saints put in a spirited second half performance but still left Burnley 3-2 losers after a woeful start to the game ended up costing them dear.

Jan Poortvleit’s side were simply dreadful in the opening stages of the game at Turf Moor and were 3-0 down after just 11 minutes - and it could have been even worse.

With little to lose in the second half Saints charged forward and managed to pull two goals back but there was just too much to do rescue a point.

Burnley almost got off to a dream start Martin Paterson held off two Saints defenders as he burst into the area after just two minutes.

He got away his shot which beat Kelvin Davis but thundered off the underside of the bar and fortunately for Saints bounced back out and clear of danger.

But it took just another two minutes before Burnley did take the lead.

Wade Elliott played a ball in that Chris Perry tried to stop but unluckily deflected past Davis and into the corner for 1-0.

It could have got worse for Saints on six minutes when Chris Eagles bent in a left wing free kick that Davis blocked at his near post.

However, the relief was short lived and from the corner it was 2-0.

Stephen Caldwell headed back towards goal where Davis seemed to have it under control and caught it but then spilt it to the grateful Joey Gudjonsson in the middle of the six yard box and he headed goalwards and from point blank range David McGoldrick on the line couldn’t keep it out.

Incredibly it was 3-0, and game effectively over, after just 11 minutes as Saints leaky backline shipped yet another.

Elliott again was involved, getting in down the Saints left and cutting back to Gudjonsson whose first time sidefooted finish left Davis with no chance.

Clarke Carlisle became the first man in the book on 13 minutes for a foul as the game settled down to a more sensible rhythm, though in truth both teams looked pretty shell-shocked by what had gone on.

After Jack Cork had deflected an effort narrowly wide Burnley hit the woodwork again on 20 minutes.

Chris McCann was given time and space to shoot from 20 yards and Davis did well at full stretch diving to his right to keep it out.

However, the ball popped out to Paterson who from a tight angle fired in an effort which struck the outside of the post and went behind.

Davis was in action on 24 minutes, this time diving to his left to stop Eagles’ 30 yard strike.

Paterson again got in on the act, firing a shot after a clever free kick routine straight at Davis who collected the shot.

Saints managed their first effort on target on 34 minutes from McGoldrick but it was not cleanly struck and barely made it to the goal where Brian Jensen stopped it.

Eagles tried his luck from distance again a minute later but Davis saved it.

Poortvliet made a change on 35 minutes as Morgan Schneidlerin was replaced by Alex Pearce who went to centre half with Cork moving into a holding midfield role.

Saints threatened two minutes later as Andrew Surman whipped in a free kick from the right which McGoldrick headed just wide while Lloyd James was the next in the book.

Everything Saints tried went wrong and at half time they looked dead and buried but almost grateful they weren’t further behind.

Saints had optimistic early second half penalty appeals waved away when Surman went down in the area.

Then, after Bradley Wright-Phillips had a shot blocked in the area, McGoldrick’s sidefooted follow up was deflected wide.

But a bright Saints start brought them a badly needed goal on 49 minutes.

Burnley failed to clear a corner, Jason Euell beat Jensen to the loose ball and cut it back. It went all the way out to Rudi Skacel charging in from left back to rifle home a shot from just inside the area for 3-1.

Pearce was booked moments later after a late challenge and from the free kick Burnley flicked a header just wide of the far post.

Saints almost went and pulled another back on 54 minutes from a corner but Burnley managed to scramble it away.

But the comeback was well and truly on when Saints made it 3-2 on 61 minutes.

Euell found himself in acres of space and picked out Surman in the area and on the turn he fired across Jensen into the far corner.

Saints almost shot themselves in the foot when Davis’ attempted punch went straight back up in the air but they managed to block Robbie Blake’s shot.

Burnley made a change on 64 minutes with Steven Thompson replacing Blake.

Suddenly the momentum had shifted and the atmosphere changed at Turf Moor with Saints looking the more likely and the Clarets getting very jittery.

Saints could have grabbed an equaliser on the break when Surman played in Adam Lallana but his cross saw McGoldrick offside and putting wide anyway.

Carlisle found himself with the chance to shoot after a loose ball from a corner arrived at his feet on 75 minutes but he fired wide.

Then just moments later the Clarets had a gift wrapped chance to seal the three points when Paterson got away down the left and crossed low into the six yard box but Thompson’s sidefooted shot was brilliantly saved by Davis.

Burnley had a second wind form somewhere and Saints were clinging on for a final late push.

The next on target was Eagles but Davis was strong at his near post to turn it wide.

Saints made a change with six minutes remaining with Jordan Robertson coming on for James. Cork went to right back and Euell into midfield as Poortvliet pushed two up front.

Wright-Phillips thought he had a chance to level it when the ball reached him at the far post but just as he went to shoot Graham Alexander got in a challenge.

Saints did win an injury time corner that Davis went up for but Burnley killed the game off and took the three points they earned in the opening stages of the match.