PHOTOS: Burnley 1, Peterborough 1
WITH 397 shots on goal this season, the Clarets remain the most potent attacking threat in the Championship.
However, judging by the display against Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough at Turf Moor, Eddie Howe’s side may not be the most prolific in the division.
But in striker Jay Rodriguez, the Clarets have one of the league’s most momentous and absorbing assets – an indispensable game-changer.
And so it proved again.
Swansea City supporting Burnley defender Connor Roberts relieved to hear that assistant Craig Bellamy isn't a Cardiff City fan
Burnley news: Clarets man attracting interest, QPR making transfer plans
“It’s not bad and it’s nothing to worry about!” — Burnley boss Vincent Kompany issues update on Scott Twine’s setback
Rodriguez, who boasts more than 90 attempts this campaign, took his tally to 17 goals in spectacular fashion to salvage a point for the Clarets.
The 22-year-old scored his fifth goal in as many matches after dropping deep to pick up possession from substitute Zavon Hines, advancing unchallenged, squeezing between Mark Little and Lee Tomlin, and slotting beyond Joe Lewis with sheer nonchalance.
“Jay’s produced a bit of magic and scored a spectacular goal,” said assistant Jason Tindall.
“Jay is a terrific player as everybody knows. We had a number of chances, easier ones than the one we scored from, but we’re pleased that we got something out of the game.
“It would have been tragic if we’d have come away with nothing.”
It was a defining moment of individual brilliance that spared the blushes of the home side’s profligacy in a commanding second-half performance, a display that shone as the antithesis to a first-half struggle.
The Clarets seemed the perpetrators of their own plight in the opening 45 minutes – struggling to move the ball with pace and conviction while failing to exploit the width at their disposal.
Charlie Austin had an early chance diverted for a corner by Craig Alcock, but from that point Posh worked their midfield diamond with aplomb.
Intricate passages of play in the middle of the park quickly brought the likes of David Ball and the industrious Paul Taylor in to the encounter, while full-backs Alcock and Mark Little were afforded time to bomb on from the back.
Tommy Rowe looked to profit as Lee Grant spilled George Boyd’s initial effort, though the keeper reacted quickest, before skipper Grant McCann flashed an effort from distance past the post.
Joe Lewis was equal to Austin’s header moments later, but tragedy struck in the 13th minute with a rare route one approach from the visitors.
Lewis’ clearance travelled in the swirling wind and snow, Michael Duff misjudged the header, Ben Mee was slow to react to the loose ball before Taylor stormed clear, drifted beyond David Edgar and rifled a right-footed cross in to the roof of the net.
And another defensive lapse almost gifted the away side an immediate second.
Duff and Edgar collided, David Ball stole in and fired across Grant only to see his effort ping back off the inside of the post.
That brought a brief response from Howe’s men as Ross Wallace drove forward, forcing Lewis in to a clever save after his speculative effort bounced awkwardly.
But Posh continued in the ascendency, enjoying ample possession. Boyd scooped an effort wide following neat footwork from Rowe on the edge of the box and Little, Frecklington and Taylor continued to pose threats down the right-hand side.
Mee sliced wide in a final first half push for an equaliser, Lewis made a smart point blank save from Austin’s header after good build up play from McCann, Rodriguez and Trippier before the Clarets captain fired a venomous effort across goal.
“We know that we were disappointing in the first half and a lot of Peterborough’s chances I felt were due to our own sloppy play and individual mistakes,” Tindall said.
“We knew we were nowhere near the levels we’ve been at recently. It was a matter of sorting out a few problems and showing more composure on the ball. We needed to get the ball wide quicker.”
But whatever Howe’s anecdote at the interval, it paid of in resounding fashion. The Clarets were energetic, pressed with conviction and only a marriage of bad fortune and questionable finishing denied them all three points.
By now Turf Moor was a white winter wonderland, with visibility proving tough at times.
After Rodriguez found the side-netting, McCann should have done better when he lifted his back post header over the bar from Trippier’s teasing set-piece. Rodriguez was then thwarted by Ryan Bennett from a familiar training ground corner routine before sidefooting wide from another Clarets break.
Both manager’s made changes; Frecklington and Ball made way for Ryan Tunnicliffe and Lee Tomlin for Posh, while Keith Treacy and Marvin Bartley replaced Josh McQuoid and Mee for the hosts.
Treacy was denied at the near post after McCann’s crafty back heel, prior to another injection of pace with Hines on for Dean Marney, and referee Colin Webster faltered on the game’s biggest decision as Little blatantly handled Wallace’s goalbound strike inside the area, but no penalty was his verdict.
Tindall said: “I felt there should have been a penalty.
“If you raise your arms in the 18-yard box, then you’re asking for trouble.
“Ross’ shot has hit the lad’s arm, and from where I was, I thought it was a penalty.
“But you’ve got to respect the referee’s decision.”
And when McCann volleyed over from Wallace’s centre the home faithful feared the worst.
Up step the gem in Burnley’s crown – Rodriguez.
With three minutes of normal time remaining, the leading scorer strolled, almost casually, into the box and found the corner to make it 1-1. The Clarets weren’t finished as Wallace’s stinging drive was saved by Lewis at the near post, but that would be the last of the action.
“I thought we deserved to win the game,” Tindall said. “In the second half we created enough clear-cut chances to win the game.
“It was a terrific response from the players. We knew at half-time that we were well below par and that we could play a lot better.
“We went out in the second half and did that – we created some fantastic chances though at one point you felt we weren’t going to score a goal with the amount of chances we had but didn’t take.”
The Clarets have now taken eight points from their last four games on home soil. That marriage between home and away form will only guide Howe’s side in one direction.