JUST 10 minutes separated the Clarets from a first league victory at Turf Moor in six games, and a first clean sheet in 22 outings in all competitions, as they faced Championship league leaders Southampton.
Goals from Jay Rodriguez, Wade Elliott and Michael Duff earned Eddie Howe’s side their last three points on home soil in a 3-1 triumph over Middlesbrough in April, while the last clean slate defensively came against Hull City at the KC Stadium in March; on-loan Aston Villa striker Nathan Delfouneso grabbing the solitary goal on that occasion.
It’s been a time of transition for the Clarets and a period of integration still lies ahead.
New faces has seen the dawn of a new era on Harry Potts Way and patience will prove to be a virtue for many of the disheartened Clarets faithful.
But Saturday’s exhilarating performance against the Saints suggested that they may just be turning that corner.
In a high-tempo start to the clash, it was in-form Charlie Austin who went closest to breaking the deadlock, dispossessing Jos Hooiveld following Kelvin Davis’s poor clearance, before bursting forward and retrieving a squared pass from strike partner Jay Rodriguez 18 yards out, but his goalbound effort was blocked.
Rodriguez, still searching for his first league strike, then forced the travelling defence on the back foot as he cut inside full-back Frazer Richardson from the left and drilled a right-footed shot from the angle of the penalty area, but once again Hooiveld provided the block.
Man of the match Marvin Bartley then tested the water as he struck a wall of yellow shirts after pouncing on Junior Stanislas’s cleared corner 20 yards from goal.
The away side’s only chances of note in a competitive first half saw Guly Do Prado have a shot blocked early on, former Claret Jack Cork found the Jimmy McIlroy Stand with an ambitious attempt from distance, while Adam Lallana, already with five goals to his name this season, guided a header wide of the far post.
Saints manager Nigel Adkins was forced into a change of personnel at the interval in a bid to stall Burnley’s dominance as Richard Chaplow replaced Do Prado.
But it was the Clarets who continued to press and they were almost rewarded twice in quick succession.
Firstly, Brian Easton’s cross was spilled by Davis who had his blushes spared by his defender on the line as Austin looked to poke the ball home. Then Kieran Trippier’s low, driven cross was touched wide by Easton at the back post.
However, the breakthrough finally came when Easton’s diagonal cross was cushioned towards the edge of the six-yard box by Rodriguez, and Austin reacted in predatory fashion to sweep the ball past Davis to notch his sixth league goal of the campaign in the 54th minute.
“That’s what he does; he gets himself in to the right areas to score goals,” said Howe.
“It was a good finish and I think he and Jay Rodriguez are forming a good partnership, and I think they’ll only get better.
“You’ve got a new player there in Junior Stanislas so we are still integrating new players which is difficult at this stage of the season. I thought Junior had a great debut until he got cramp late on.”
David Connolly stung the palms of Grant in search of an immediate reply after referee Anthony Taylor inexplicably failed to reward a free-kick when Bartley was cynically upended by Cork.
And Southampton went even closer to levelling proceedings soon after when Richardson found space in behind Easton and fired a measured cross in to Rickie Lambert, whose header in to the ground cannoned back off the crossbar.
Adkins opted to replace captain Dean Hammond with French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin just after the hour and that prompted a sudden burst from the visitors.
Former Claret full-back Danny Fox, who had earlier gone unpunished after kicking out at Trippier, and Lallana combined twice, but the latter glanced wide with his first attempt, before missing a golden opportunity as he missed the target with a header when unmarked inside the six-yard box.
But the equaliser eventually came in the 80th minute to scupper a display full of spirit and character from the Clarets.
Fox caused problems once again with a centre whipped in from the left, before substitute Schneiderlin stabbed the ball home from close range.
Zavon Hines and Alex MacDonald replaced Ross Wallace and Charlie Austin respectively as Howe pushed for a winner, but it was Southampton who almost stole the points when Lallana raced clear in the third minute of time added on only to tamely side foot his effort in to the arms of Grant.
“I’m very disappointed, I thought the lads were magnificent today,” said Howe. “That’s the spirit and the level of intensity we need to play at, week in, week out.
“I think if we do that, then we’ll win a lot of games this season. I thought we gave the league leaders a tough afternoon at times, up until the last 20 minutes, when we ran out of gas.
“With the game on Tuesday and with Southampton rested, a whole load of their players, we found it difficult to stay at the tempo we were playing at. Up until that point, I thought we were well worthy leaders.”
He added: “I’m happy with the performance, but I’ll be going home disappointed. It leaves the Burnley fans still waiting for a home win and that’s something we’re desperate to put right.”