Sam Vokes’s 10th goal of the season from the penalty spot ensured the Clarets remain top of the Championship after a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
The Welshman reached double figures for the term in the 26th minute when calmly sending Karl Darlow the wrong way after Gonzalo Jara had handled Kieran Trippier’s whipped centre.
However, the hosts leveled five minutes before the break when Simon Cox powered a header home from close range from Jamie Paterson’s clipped cross to the back post.
The hosts started brightly at the City Ground, with the charge of Henri Lansbury, Jamie Mackie, Jamie Paterson and Radoslaw Majewski forcing the Clarets on the back foot while Cox led the forward line.
Billy Davies’s side had a real zip and energy going forward, and Polish midfielder Majewski benefited from an intricate build up from the right as he cut inside and forced Tom Heaton in to an early save low to his left as the space opened up ahead of him on the edge of the box.
But the table-toppers worked tirelessly to restrict the opposition from getting the ball in to the box and as the visitors broke, Darlow had to tip Trippier’s deep cross around the upright at full stretch.
The hosts went close to breaking the deadlock when Danny Ings’s mis-placed pass on the halfway line gifted Majewski possession and as he fed cox the striker was bundled over by Clarets skipper Jason Shackell. Former Gunner Lansbury hit the bar with an exquisite free-kick before Majewski fired the rebound wide.
Forest were executing a 4-4-1-1 model to perfection, committing men forward and working the holes, and once Lansbury’s speculative drive fortuitously fell in to the path of Paterson, his centre was headed over the bar from close range by Cox. The striker went close again moments later when his effort from distance was palmed to safety by Heaton low to his left.
But after holding off the pressure, Sean Dyche’s men took the lead when Trippier’s cross was handled by midfielder Jara. Forest fans and players felt the decision from referee Craig Boyeson was contentious, but the defender’s arm was out-stretched and he’d prevented a dangerous centre from reaching the likes of Vokes and Ings lurking inside the box. Vokes stepped up and calmly slotted in to the left corner, sending Darlow the wrong way.
As the half wore on, it looked as though the Clarets would take their advantage in to the break. However, with five minutes of the opening half remaining, Paterson teased his markers after switcing to the right and clipped a delightful cross over the head of Heaton towards the back post where Cox powered home with his head unchallenged to make it 1-1.
In the second half the Clarets were reliant on the framework and organisation that has proved so effective to date this campaign as Forest bossed possession.
But Burnley’s endeavour still so them press and win the ball in advanced positions. On one occasion Ings prospered from a misunderstanding between Jack Hobbs and Forest captain Chris Cohen and after hitting the bye-line the England Under 21 international pulled the ball back for Scott Arfield who was denied by a superb last ditch block from substitute Nathaniel Chalobah.
While Forest found space behind full-back Ben Mee on numerous occasions, the visitors stood firm as a unit and got men behind the ball to thwart the home side’s pressure. Defender Jamaal Lascelles went closest to putting the hosts ahead when his header from Cohen’s corner dropped just wide of the post.
Forest were caught napping midway through the second half when David Edgar’s spectacular, defence-splitting pass through Hobbs and Cohen found Trippier but the full-back’s cross was too high for Vokes, who was an outstanding presence for the away side.
Both manager’s made changes in a bid to swing the game in their favour, with Keith Treacy replacing Michael Kightly for the Clarets while Djamal Abdoun and Darius Henderson were introduced at the expense of Majewski and Paterson for the hosts.
Arfield stung the palms of Darlow from the angle of the box as his fizzing snapshot, after retrieving the ball from Mee, threatened to creep in at the near post.
At the other end, Chalobah curled an effort over the angle from deep inside the area after being stood up by Michael Duff while Lascelles missed the target with another header from a Cohen corner.
And just before the full-time whistle, a goalmouth scramble resulted in Arfield desperately hoofing the ball clear after Heaton had saved from Cox with his legs on the line.