Photos: Burnley 2, West Brom 2
Hull City’s point against City at the Etihad had temporarily lifted the Tigers out of the relegation spots, but a point sunk Steve Bruce’s side back in to the mire alongside Leicester City and QPR.
Striker Danny Ings put unsettling talk of his Turf Moor future behind him early on when picking up the scraps from Claudio Yacob’s clearance only to fizz an attempt over the bar left-footed.
As the hosts continued to press, their unresponsive opponents were reliant on a sensational stop from goalkeeper Ben Foster to keep the scores level as he flicked Scott Arfield’s effort on to the bar after Barnes had cushioned Kieran Trippier’s cross in to the midfielder’s path.
But the early pressure was rewarded in the 11th minute, following a one-minute applause for former Baggies striker Jeff Astle, as Ashley Barnes claimed his fifth of the campaign.
Arfield guided a header in to Ings and the England Under 21 international hooked a cross towards strike partner Barnes who beat off the challenge of one-time Clarets loanee Chris Baird to head in to the corner.
Baird, who won promotion from the Championship last term during a spell away from Fulham, was enduring a horrid return to Turf Moor as he failed to cope with the threat of Trippier and George Boyd.
Not surprisingly, the home side’s next attack sprung from that right hand flank courtesy of the aforementioned duo but Dean Marney missed the target at the near post.
Tony Pulis was forced in to a change midway through the half when Victor Anichebe picked up a knock, though Saido Berahino was on hand to replace the former Everton forward.
The visitors rarely threatened but, following another tribute in memory of Clarets fan Jack Pickles, were gifted an opportunity when Ben Mee upended January signing Callum McManaman level with the edge of the box. The club’s latest acquisition Darren Fletcher, awarded the captaincy by Pulis, delivered the resulting set-piece but Joleon Lescott looped a header over the bar.
Plenty has been said regarding Ings’ contract situation, but the 22-year-old averted attention from such speculation when doubling the home side’s advantage.
Trippier cleverly stepped over Marney’s pass to manufacture space for Boyd and the winger crossed for Ings who found space between Craig Dawson and Lescott to head his eighth of the season.
However, 2-0 has proved an unconvincing cushion for the Clarets in recent weeks. Spurs clawed their way back to win 4-2 in an FA Cup replay at White Hart Lane last month while Crystal Palace overturned a two-goal deficit to claim victory days later.
And the anxiety from fans spilled out in the stands when Chris Brunt crept in behind Mee to meet McManaman’s corner and head in off the underside of the bar in first half stoppage time.
With Marney struggling with a calf strain sustained in the first half, Dyche opted to introduce Michael Kightly.
Meanwhile Baird, who was on a booking, was withdrawn at the interval and replaced by £10m striker Brown Ideye.
West Brom instantly appeared much more compact as Brunt slotted in at left back while Ideye provided the drive and impetus that had been lacking in the opening 45 minutes.
And the Clarets struggled to counteract the change as they failed to repeat the incision and precision of the first half.
In fact it was skipper Jason Shackell who registered the only chances for the hosts though the defender’s first effort from distance was comfortably gathered by Foster.
Disaster struck in the 67th minute when the Baggies levelled. David Jones appeared to be pushed by a combination of Dawson and Ideye when Brunt’s corner was delivered and, with Tom Heaton rooted to the spot, the Nigerian substitute steered a free header in to the corner.
It was the 14th headed goal the Clarets had conceded this term and the 13th headed goal that West Brom had scored.
The away side almost added to that moments later but this time Heaton was equal to Lescott’s attempt from another Brunt corner.
The one-time Manchester City defender was then in the perfect position at the other end to nod Shackell’s header off the line after the captain’s header arced rainbow-like over Foster.
Referee Mike Dean ignored appeals for a penalty when Dawson handled Mee’s centre - with replays supporting the home side’s case - and insult was almost added to injury when Berahino had a great opportunity to steal maximum points late on.
The want-away striker halted his run to claim possession, as the ball broke for him from Shackell’s error, buty a combination of Heaton and Mee prevented the ball from crossing the line.
The Clarets will now face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, kick-off 7-45 p.m.