Boro’s smash and grab victory at Turf Moor postponed the Clarets promotion party as rivals Derby County cut the gap in the Championship.
Despite bossing possession and forcing 27 shots on goal Sean Dyche’s men couldn’t find a way past goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos, with insult added to injury as the Rams recovered to beat nine man Huddersfield Town.
Jacob Butterfield’s 51st minute strike ensured Boro - who had Daniel Ayala sent off for a second bookable offence late on - became the only side to achieve the double over the Clarets this term.
The afternoon began with a poignant silence in memory of the 96 that lost their lives at Hillsborough 25 years ago, with the fixture kicking off seven minutes late to mark the disaster during the FA semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
Dyche, who was at that fateful cup tie with the Forest youth team, commented that it was hard to break down teams playing a 3-5-2 following the stalemate with Watford at Vicarage Road, but his side made light work of Boro despite not taking advantage in the opening half.
Another relentless display from the home side completely negated Aitor Karanka’s employment of wing backs as Burnley’s overpowering press penned Emanuel Ledesma and Albert Adomah in their own third.
The Clarets were dominant in the opening quarter-of-an-hour at Turf Moor but had minimal end product to show for their endeavours. However - as news filtered through that Nahki Wells had given the Terriers the lead - striker Ashley Barnes couldn’t convert Michael Kightly’s cross as Nathaniel Chalobah blocked.
That sparked the hosts in to life and moments later Kieran Trippier’s precise diagonal pass picked out Danny Ings inside the area, but as the ball fell the club’s leading scorer sliced his volley in to the David Fishwick Stand.
Midway through the half, Boro had their first sight of goal when Lee Tomlin’s strike clipped the boot of Trippier before goalkeeper Tom Heaton plunged to his right to palm past the upright.
The closest the Clarets came to a first half opener arrived when Scott Arfield’s shot ricocheted in to the path of Ben Mee via Jonathan Woodgate’s block and the full back’s centre was met by a looping header from Kightly that fell back off the crossbar - with Konstantopoulos a mere bystander - while Barnes headed the rebound wide.
At times the home side’s intricacy was outstanding, no more saw than when Ings inventively flicked Trippier’s pass beyond Daniel Ayala and Ledesma and in to the path of midfielder Dean Marney who returned the pass to the SkyBet Championship Player of the Year inside the six yard box, only for Adomah to make a superb last ditch challenge. On second viewing, it seemed the Clarets were denied a clear cut penalty as both Marney and Ings were wiped out.
As Johnny Russell equalised for the Rams at Pride Park just before the half hour, Boro grew in to the fixture. The first opportunity came courtesy of Butterfield’s vision with the midfielder spraying the ball out to Adomah on the right and the winger’s cross was hooked over with a first time effort from Danny Graham.
After Ings turned Chalobah and stung the palms of Konstantopoulos from the edge of the box, Heaton had to spring to his left to push Graham’s thumping effort to safety after Grant Leadbitter and Tomlin had combined well.
The Clarets stopper then had to be alert to flick Butterfield’s 20 yard drive over the bar, and was at full stretch again when Ledesma cut inside from the right and fizzed a left-footed effort just wide of the far post.
During the interval 1994 Wembley hero Gary Parkinson returned to Turf Moor for the first time since being struck with locked-in syndrome in September 2010. He was joined on the pitch by his family and former team-mate David Eyres, with the pair greeted by rapturous applause from the supporters.
A similar sequence ensued after the break, but somehow the Clarets failed to take the initiative.
The deadlock could’ve been broken when Ings stabbed goalwards early on from close range but, with Konstantopoulos out of position, Adomah stuck a leg in the way to increase the home side’s frustration.
Then, from the resulting corner, Tomlin profited from Arfield’s failure to cut out the clearance and darted inside Trippier on the edge of the box before Butterfield raced through the middle and lifted an effort over Heaton and in to the top corner.
Boro went within a whisker of doubling the advantage soon after when Tomlin’s side-footed effort dropped agonisingly wide of the far post with Heaton at full stretch.
From that point, however, the visitors put men behind the ball with Graham the only player in an advanced position. But Burnley still managed to create chances.
First Marney’s clever cutting pass through Ledesma and Ayala found Trippier who cut past Woodgate only to fire a wayward shot high and wide.
Ings went close on two occasions in succession just after as the Clarets continued the onslaught, but he powered a header over from Kightly’s corner after darting ahead of Adomah before clipping wide of the far post after latching on to Trippier’s penetrative pass in to the box.
The pressure continued to mount and Graham was conveniently placed to hack Jason Shackell’s header from a David Jones corner off the line before Barnes forced a fine one-handed save from Konstantopoulos with an awkward header from Michael Duff’s inswinging cross.
The goalkeeper was in action again when getting a glove to Trippier’s free-kick, while Mee headed over from a corner amid penalty appeals as Adomah dragged Ings to the ground.
Once Karanka opted to withdraw goalscorer Butterfield at the expense of Joszef Varga, Konstantopoulos made another superb save as he palmed Jones’s set-piece over the bar after Dean Whitehead had felled Marney.
Dyche was in search of a way through and moved to introduce Ross Wallace and Junior Stanislas in a double change for Kightly and Arfield. Luke Williams then replaced Tomlin for the away side.
With County 3-1 up at this stage, there was an over-riding feeling inside the stadium that it was going to be one of those days. And so it proved.
Konstantopoulos was at it again when getting in the way of Stanislas’s drive from the edge of the box, and as the ball spilled out to Barnes the striker failed to find his strike partner who stood free on the edge of the six-yard box.
Referee Dean Whitestone then waved away further penalty claims as Barnes was kicked over at the back post, before Woodgate somehow turned Trippier’s centre wide of the far post at full stretch.
Wallace then tried his luck from distance, forcing another sublime acrobatic stop from Konstantopoulos, and then on the break Heaton pushed Chalobah’s effort to safety as Varga supplied the cross.
Ayala was dismissed late on, but the Clarets couldn’t find a leveller. They’ll look to push closer to the Premier League on Good Friday when they take on struggling Blackpool in a Lancashire derby.