The Clarets — who were top of the tree under Sean Dyche at this point nine years ago — came from behind to beat Michael Carrick’s side in a game of high drama.
Substitute Duncan Watmore gave Boro the lead early in the second half when slotting the ball past Arijanet Muric having benefitted from Manuel Benson’s mistake.
The Belgian summer signing atoned for his error on the hour when beating Zack Steffen at his near post and the former Royal Antwerp star turned the game on its head seven minutes later when his cross bamboozled the American stopper.
Jonathan Howson flicked the ball into his own net from Josh Brownhill’s corner in the 72nd minute to make it 3-1, but there was still a late twist in the tale.
Referee David Webb reduced the hosts to 10 men when dismissing Connor Roberts for handball, even though replays showed that Chuba Akpom’s header had, in fact, clipped the crossbar.
However, Akpom failed to capitalise from the spot as Muric guessed correctly to save at the foot of his right hand upright to preserve the league leaders’ two-goal cushion.
1. Burnley's Manager Vincent Kompany reacts Photographer Dave Howarth/CameraSport The EFL Sky Bet Championship - Burnley v Middlesbrough - Saturday 17th December 2022 - Turf Moor - Burnley World Copyright © 2022 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - [email protected] - www.camerasport.com
Burnley's Manager Vincent Kompany reacts The EFL Sky Bet Championship - Burnley v Middlesbrough - Saturday 17th December 2022 - Turf Moor - Burnley Photo: CameraSport - Dave Howarth
2. Arijanet Muric 7
The importance of the Kosovan goalkeeper's penalty save can not be underestimated as Boro would've had the opportunity to push for an equaliser against 10 men with six minutes of stoppage time to play. A great save at the foot of his post to deny Chuba Akpom's spot kick. Photo: CameraSport - Dave Howarth
3. Connor Roberts 7
Dynamic, worked hard, and helped his team-mates build patiently from the back. Given no troubles defensively and, though he showed intent when moving his arm towards the ball, there was clearly no contact as it came back off the crossbar, meaning his red card should be rescinded. Photo: CameraSport - Rich Linley
4. Jordan Beyer 8.5
Whether the ball was there to be won in the air, on the deck, or while being wrestled by his opponent, he defended with real authority and assurance. Forced Marcus Forss into anonymity, dominated his battles with Chuba Akpom, and made a vital intervention in the first half when cutting out Isaiah Jones's pass as Boro countered. The German Under 21 international is also a major driving force with the ball at his feet and it was a fantastic sweeping pass to Manuel Benson that set up the equaliser. Photo: CameraSport - Dave Howarth