Burnley 0, Cardiff City 0
Burnley celebrated a goal scoring hero in the Championship fixture against Cardiff City on an evening when goals were lacking at Turf Moor.
A crowd of 15,740 rose to their feet on two occasions to applaud the life and achievements of Ian Britton, who wrote himself in to the history books when scoring the winner against Orient in 1987 to help preserve the club’s Football League status.
However, despite going so close to taking all three points, the hosts couldn’t find a match-winner as Boro and Brighton closed the gap at the top of the table.
Having won four of their last six games, including victory over Derby County to boost their play-off hopes, the Bluebirds arrived at Turf Moor brimming with confidence.
Midfielder Tom Lawrence, who had a spell on loan with Rovers earlier in the season, worked an early opening but his curling right-footed effort from the edge of the box flicked up off a defender and sailed wide of the far post.
After City’s weekend match-winner Stuart O’Keefe failed to trouble Tom Heaton with an attempt from a tight angle, having been fronted by David Jones, the visitors breached Burnley’s backline on the opposite flank to maintain the pressure.
Anthony Pilkington timed his run to race goal side of Michael Keane from Scott Malone’s pass and the forward, aided by his team mate’s decoy run, cut back infield but found the stands with a strike from the angle of the area.
The Clarets appeared disjointed in parts, failing to engineer the pin-point accuracy and zip in their distribution to play through an organised and resolute City rearguard.
However, Sam Vokes’s moment of genius almost paved the way for the opening goal of the evening. The Welshman’s carving reverse pass dissected the away side’s central defensive pairing to free George Boyd but the winger delayed his shot and Sean Morrison was able to get across and block.
Russell Slade’s side pressed energetically and they almost caught the Clarets out when Lawrence dispossessed Ben Mee, drove towards the box with Keane the only defender in position but, with Pilkington to his right, the midfielder fired wastefully in to the arms of Heaton.
The hosts, who had Boro breathing down their necks as Aitor Karanka’s men led against Huddersfield Town at the Riverside, responded in the latter stages of the half only to find David Marshall too good on two occasions.
The goalkeeper was alert to deny Andre Gray when the Championship’s leading scorer stepped ahead of his marker to hook goalwards once Vokes had flicked on from Matt Lowton’s throw.
And the Bluebirds skipper did enough to foil Boyd from close range with his legs from Stephen Ward’s delivery after Joey Barton’s exceptional diagonal pass floated over Lee Peltier to find the Republic of Ireland international.
Burnley’s Vokes has been in good scoring form of late but he was guilty of missing a number of clear-cut chances in the second half.
After Lex Immers failed to apply the power to test Heaton from Pilkington’s centre, the 14-goal striker headed over from Barton’s delivery and then couldn’t edge Lowton’s delivery to beat Marshall at his near post.
An excellent intervention from Ward then prevented Immers from getting a shot away inside the box before substitute Kenneth Zohore watched his attempt come back off the bar as he lifted the ball over Heaton.
But Burnley finished the stronger of the two sides as City put men behind the ball to frustrate their opponents.
Marshall, who had made a number of crucial saves in the opening half, proved the saviour for the visitors as he thwarted Vokes and substitute Ashley Barnes, who made a welcome return to Turf Moor.
The goalkeeper plunged to his right to push Vokes’s header wide from Jones’s dangerous free-kick before stooping low to block from Barnes from the resulting corner.
The Clarets remain top after stretching their unbeaten run to 17 games but three stalemates in succession has seen it all tighten up at the top.