Burnley stretched their unbeaten run to 11 games but had to settle for a share of the spoils as former boss Eddie Howe returned to Turf Moor to take a point with Bournemouth.
With QPR drawing with Reading in the early Championship kick-off and Leicester City losing 2-0 at home to rivals Forest, the Clarets had the opportunity to extend their cushion at the top of the table to four points. But October’s Manager of the Month Sean Dyche admitted he was happy to go in to the international break two points clear at the summit - a deserving reward for taking 27 points from a possible 33 since their only defeat of the campaign against Brighton.
After a poignant Last Post to remember our fallen soldiers, it was the visitors that forced the early openings starting with Tokelo Rantie who drove through Dean Marney, skipper Jason Shackell and Kieran Trippier before drilling a presentable effort over the angle from inside the area. Then, after pulling the ball down on his chest, Brett Pitman troubled Tom Heaton after the goalkeeper scrambled back to his line to fingertip over the bar after the striker’s speculative half-volley looped awkwardly off the boot of David Jones.
The Cherries pressed well and successfully took the sting out of the Clarets attack, but the hosts gradually grew in to the fixture. Sam Vokes got too much on his header from Jones’s whipped free-kick after Scott Arfield was felled outside the box, before Bournemouth’s Harry Arter almost talked himself in to a dismissal.
The midfielder was sidelined and receiving treatment following a collision, but as team mate Marc Pugh threatened to race clear from a mis-placed Vokes pass, Arter inexplicably ran back on to the pitch without referee Michael Russell’s consent, and much to his dismay was consequently booked.
Jones, who was tremendous in a relatively pedestrian first half display, hooked a superb ball over to Michael Kightly and the winger cut infield, skipped past Eunan O’Kane and forced Lee Camp in to a low save with a right-footed effort.
The Clarets struggled to find a momentum but continued to pile forward in search of the opener and Steve Cook headed over his own bar when under pressure from Vokes after the Welsh striker, Jones and Kightly had combined in the build up. From the resulting set-piece - taken short to Kightly - Shackell towered above his marker to head across Camp but Pitman acrobatically cleared the effort off the line.
Cook made a last minute block to deny Vokes, who then sliced an effort wide moments later, and then the nine-goal forward fluffed his lines at the vital moment as Camp spilled Dean Marney’s thunderous 30 yard piledriver.
The second half proved equally as frustrating as the away side took the lead within five minutes of the restart. Pitman dropped deep to split the Clarets defence and won a flick on, which left £2m. South African international Rantie to spin off Michael Duff before spectacularly beating Heaton with a first time effort that fizzed in off the underside of the bar from the edge of the box.
From that point the home side’s ability to get back in to the fixture was dashed by a Cherries side that slowed the game down and time wasted at every given opportunity.
Keith Treacy was introduced at the expense of a jaded Kightly in a bid to add invention to their performance. And the substitute almost made an immediate impact when finding space at the back post from Marney’s centre, but his header was saved by Camp who fell to his left to claim.
Vokes went agonisingly close to a leveler when latching on to Ings’s lifted pass over the Cherries rearguard but, as he cut back on to his right foot inside the area, his deflected effort off the boot of O’Kane rolled up against the inside of the upright as Camp got a touch.
Bournemouth could consider themselves lucky not to have been reduced to 10 men when last man Elliott Ward forced Ings to ground with a blatant push on the edge of the box, but match official Russell, for some reason, failed to react and punish the offence. Howe, on the other end, felt that Ward was right to go unpunished when addressing journalists in the post match press conference.
At that point it seemed like it was going to be one of those days, until leading scorer and Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month Ings popped up with the equaliser and his 14th of the term in all competitions.
With six minutes of normal time remaining, sub Junior Stanislas, who had replaced Arfield, whipped in a cross, Vokes won the header on the penalty spot, before Ings ghosted in behind Ward to bravely beat Camp to the ball and head home.
That sparked a reaction from the crowd, providing the atmosphere that had been missing throughout the afternoon, and it was met with an encouraging final spell from the hosts. There would be just one more chance in the fixture which was presented to the Clarets by Charlie Daniels who was booked for felling Treacy on the edge of the box. Treacy’s resulting set-piece was creeping in at the near post, but Camp darted to his left to tip the effort around the post.
The Clarets will take on Forest in their next Championship fixture on Saturday, November 23rd.