AFTER scoring his fifth goal of the campaign, striker Martin Paterson quipped that he’s gunning for strike partner Charlie Austin.
The pacey frontman admitted that he may have to take up a different form of shooting practice if he’s to usurp the Clarets leading scorer.
The pair were on the scoresheet as Sean Dyche’s men earned a late point in a 2-2 draw at London Road against Peterborough United, though Paterson feels it will take some effort to dislodge the 24-goal hitman from his pedestal.
“I’ll probably have to shoot Charlie to get a game if I’m honest, which I’ve contemplated,” he joked. “But I played in a two with Vokes today and maybe at times we’ll switch to that, which would be great for me because I like playing with the big strikers.
“He may opt to team Charlie and Vokes up, but we’re three very different but very good strikers so it’s healthy competition to help you push on.
“If we did change the system I can play up front with Charlie because we did it earlier in the season and it worked really well. But with the system we’re playing, which is working really well at the moment, the lads are doing great.
“For me the most important thing is when I’m called upon. I’ll do a job for the team wherever I go. I want to be upfront and I want to score goals but if that’s not the case I’ll always give my best.”
The headlines before the fixture surrounded the breakdown of Posh’s flair player George Boyd’s proposed move to Nottingham Forest over the failure of an eye test, but they were soon forgotten when Ross Wallace’s vision picked out Austin for the opener.
The Scot skipped past home side skipper Tommy Rowe before whipping in a mesmerising, inswinging cross for Austin who edged in-between defensive duo Gabriel Zakuani, back from African Cup of Nations duty with DR Congo, and Michael Bostwick to lift the ball in to the roof of the net on the volley after just 67 seconds to announce his return from injury.
The remainder of the half petered out with not much of a threat from either side with both defences, equally as committed, soaking up pressure from the flanks.
Bostwick and Danny Ings forced half chances in the opening quarter-of-an-hour while Lee Grant comfortable gathered Boyd’s speculative half-volley.
Austin, who aggravated a hamstring strain in the home defeat to Leicester City last month, missing five fixtures as a consequence, almost doubled the lead when Dean Marney’s attempt ricocheted off his team-mate’s shin inside the area, sending Bobby Olejnik off-balance and the wrong way though the ball bent around the post.
Last week Dyche claimed that six crucial decisions had gone against Burnley in his 16 games in charge, the latest being Marney’s dismissal in defeat to Birmingham City, but match official Andy D’Urso got his decision spot on when ignoring appeals for a penalty once Dwight Gayle had gone to ground under sustained pressure from defender Michael Duff – instead awarding a corner.
The visitors were fully in control at the interval but a lacklustre 25-minute period cost them dearly as they failed to break out of the blocks at the start of the second half.
Lee Tomlin provided the impetus for the hosts to press on, floating a delicate right-footed effort agonisingly wide of the post from the edge of the box. Gayle’s shot on the turn was then well saved by an alert Grant after the Posh striker linked up well with Boyd.
A series of changes from Ferguson saw the home side’s momentum intensify - with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Alex Pritchard replacing Joe Newell and Nathaniel Knight-Percival respectively, the pair adding pace, purpose and urgency to a previously pedestrian and timid forward line.
Junior Stanislas curled an effort across Olejnik that whistled past the far post after cutting back past Mark Little on the edge of the box before Ings coasted past Bostwick only to be denied by the Posh keeper.
Grant then sprawled to his left to save McCann’s free-kick, clasping the ball confidently, but moments later the hosts were level.
Rowe, sandwiched by three defenders, rose to meet a corner and as his headed cannoned off the back of Chris McCann, and Austin and Marney failed to clear the loose ball, the makeshift left-back acted with impulse to swing a leg and beat an unsighted Grant.
Then, four minutes later, the fixture was turned on its head when Rowe’s drive from his own half, brimming with acceleration, was finished off with a thumping effort across Grant after swapping passes with Gayle on the edge of the box.
That strike could have proved to be the KO for the Clarets, but the away side showed the character, endeavour and fight to bounce back from the ropes.
Olejnik palmed Marney’s effort to safety as Ings lurked inside the box and, after Paterson replaced Austin, Grant denied Pritchard who skipped past Kieran Trippier before unleashing a right-footed drive.
But with four minutes of normal time remaining, Danny Lafferty’s pass in behind Mendez-Laing and Little punctured the Posh rearguard and found McCann who shrugged off the attentions of Boyd, drove in to the box, and fired across the face of goal for Paterson to hammer in to an empty net from close range.
And the substitute almost snathced the points in the final seconds, but his glancing header from Stanislas’s set-piece produced a fantastic, reflex save from Olejnik.