If you were ever to look at a game that reflected the character, desire and belief among Sean Dyche’s squad then the 3-3 draw with Newcastle United at St James’ Park should be the one.
The Clarets showed magnificent heart to overcome numerous obstacles throughout the fixture to leave the North East with a point.
The away side were plagued by first half injuries, they were denied by the woodwork on four occasions and they fell behind to their managerless hosts three times, but still they refused to roll over.
The New Year promised so much for the Clarets after 2014 ended with a point against champions Manchester City at the Etihad.
Unfortunately for Sean Dyche’s side it didn’t materialise in such a manner in the first half. In the wake of Manuel Pellegrini and Louis Van Gaal complaining about the demands of the festive schedule, the Burnley boss named an unchanged starting XI for the sixth successive game.
Not since Paul Lambert during his reign at Norwich City in 2011 had a manager been reliant on the same personnel for such a period.
But that statistic would soon be flipped after a catalogue of misfortune in the first half. With injuries to Jason Shackell, Dean Marney and the skipper’s replacement Kevin Long the Clarets became the first top tier team to use all three substitutes in the opening 45 minutes in almost six years.
The visitors started well and only 52 seconds had elapsed when striker Ashley Barnes struck the post. Danny Ings pounced on Cheick Tiote’s error, provided the incision and Barnes toe-poked past Jak Alnwick and against the upright.
The hosts responded and twice Yoan Gouffran went close. Firstly the Frenchman had an effort beaten away by Tom Heaton who had plunged to his right to save before the outstretched boot of Shackell fortuitously diverted another attempt for a corner.
Once Emmanuel Riviere flicked over from Daryl Janmaat’s centre, the Magpies got John Carver’s tenure as assistant underway. As Dyche prepared his first change - with Shackell struggling - Steven Taylor climbed above the wounded defender to head Jack Colback’s corner home.
Four minutes later, though, Burnley levelled. Long, who had been on for a matter of minutes, supplied the diagonal, Taylor’s clearance was wayward and Paul Dummett inexplicably cushioned a header over Alnwick and in to his own net.
Newcastle restored their lead in the 26th minute and for the second time in as many games Heaton was beaten by an absolute screamer.
Janmaat rolled the ball to the midfielder on the edge of the box and Colback’s thumping left-footed strike cannoned in off the upright.
Marney and Long would soon be casualties, the latter falling in agony on his Premier League debut after landing awkwardly in an aerial challenge with Riviere.
Dyche was forced to move Reid to right back, Trippier to left back, Ben Mee inside to partner Michael Keane and Scott Arfield in to central midfield.
After the break the visitors were simply remarkable.
Boyd lifted over on the stretch from Kightly’s centre early on while Ings and Barnes hit the woodwork in quick succession as both searched for their fifth goal of the season.
Mee then struck the bar with a fine header from David Jones’s corner, Ings was booked for diving in the penalty area after colliding with Tiote before Alnwick produced an exceptional save with his fingertips to deny Boyd from distance.
The Clarets had their reward in the 66th minute, however. Kightly’s cross was perfect and Ings nipped ahead of Dummett to glance the ball in to the corner.
Dyche’s men continued to dominate, but they were hit with a sucker-punch in the 78th minute. Against the run of play, Ayoze eased past Reid, substitute Adam Armstrong flicked on and Moussa Sissoko tucked in to the net.
Again, Burnley’s character would be tested. And they passed - with flying colours.
With four minutes of normal time remaining, Boyd raced beyond Tiote and Mike Williamson before pulling a sublime left-footed shot beneath Alnwick and in to the far corner to make it 3-3.
Trippier’s late free-kick took a nick off the wall as the away side threatened to take maximum points, but the Clarets got 2015 off with a bang!