THE Clarets rounded off their pre-season preparations in unsatisfactory fashion as they went down 3-1 to Rochdale.
The writing was on the wall in the early stages at Spotland when Dale new boy Dele Adebola opened the scoring less than two hours after signing for the League Two club.
The 37-year-old veteran striker nonchalantly swept the ball past Lee Grant from close range after Ashley Grimes and full-back Kevin McIntyre had cleverly manipulated space down the left, forging a route in behind Kieran Trippier.
Danny Ings forced the first opportunity of the game, drilling the ball against Ryan Edwards from 20 yards out after a sudden burst of pace worked the space in midfield. And the 20-year-old went close to adding to his two goals in pre-season, though a touch from Josh Willis, who reacted quickly to narrow the angle, prevented the striker's clipped effort from looping in to the back of the net.
The Clarets lacked the tempo and intensity shown in the 4-0 win over League Two Cheltenham on Saturday, proving uneconomical in possession and failing to force the hosts on the back foot.
Dale continued to press, finding joy down their left hand side, and skipper Peter Cavanagh went close to doubling the advantage as he bent an effort over Grant's bar, with the goalkeeper scrambling to cover.
Ross Wallace dragged a shot wide once Edwards cleared unconvincingly, while Sam Vokes drilled wide of the post with Lillis troubled. Edwards almost rectified his mistake, but failed to find the target from Cavanagh's corner when unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.
But moments later the Clarets were punished for a lack of concentration when Cavanagh's piercing pass freed George Donnelly down the left and, despite Michael Duff's best efforts, the midfielder slid the ball across the face of goal for Grimes to apply the vital touch at the back post.
Vokes fired wide on the volley and Lillis produced a superb reaction save to deny Martin Paterson in the closing stages but they failed to beat Lillis.
John Coleman's side frustrated the Clarets after the break, often over-committing in challenges that could be deemed too robust for a friendly. But the home side continued to dominate, pressing high up the field, closing well, and generally making life hard for their opponents.
And that committed attitude was rewarded when McIntyre broke down the left and crossed for substitute Ray Putterill who fired the ball past Brian Jensen, who had replaced Grant after the interval.
Burnley's display appeared laboured, failing to apply the crisp, intricate passages that had been evident in previous matches. Instead Dale continued to surge forward confidently and only a last ditch challenge from skipper Jason Shackell denied Craig Curran a simple tap in. At the other end, Paterson had the chance to reduce the arrears when one-on-one with Lillis but the striker dallied on the ball before Edwards dispossessed him.
Howe's side did get on the score sheet, Austin rising highest from a Junior Stanislas corner for his fifth goal of pre-season after replacing Vokes late on, but that was the only positive from a performance where they deserved little more than a consolation.
A much-improved performance will be required when the Clarets travel to Port Vale in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, August 14th.