BARNSLEY slid to a disappointing and well-deserved defeat at Turf Moor.
The Reds created few clear-cut chances, save for a thunderous second-half shot from Craig Davies that struck the crossbar.
Reds boss Keith Hill had made a single change to the line-up that started the defeat at Watford last time out some 10 days earlier. Scott Golbourne came in for his first start at left-back, with Jim McNulty moving into the centre and Stephen Foster dropped to the bench. The paperwork for new capture David Cotterill hadn’t been completed in time for him to feature.
The Clarets took the lead after just three minutes. And it was a poorly defended goal as Ross Wallace crossed deep for Josh McQuoid, who nodded across goal for Jay Rodriguez to slide in. The Reds soon rallied. The lively-looking Davies twice went close either side of the quarter-hour mark – first when smashing a shot inches wide, then being denied from 25 yards by a smart stop from keeper Lee Grant.
There was a scare when the unmarked Charlie Austin headed over from just six yards, before Reds’ hearts were firmly in their mouths when Austin charged down a regulation Luke Steele clearance, with the ball flying wide.
Seconds before the interval Steele redeemed himself somewhat with a point-blank stop from David Edgar’s bullet header. An unimpressed Hill replaced David Perkins and Matty Done with Chris Dagnall and Nathan Doyle at the break, but it was the Clarets who came close when Rodriguez nodded over from inside the six-yard box.
In the 56th minute the woodwork saved the hosts from conceding. First-half sub Jim O’Brien found Davies some 25 yards out and the former Chesterfield hot shot’s 30-yard drive thumped the crossbar.
Suddenly Reds’ fans found their voices, but soon lost them again when the hosts doubled their lead. There was a touch of fortune about the goal though, as Austin followed up to slot home after Rodriguez’s angled shot rebounded off the post.
It was beginning to look like the Reds’ game was almost up, and it definitely would have been had Wallace’s volley found the net with 20 minutes to go. O’Brien did respond with a shot which deflected wide for a corner-kick, but that came to nothing and the visitors were almost punished when Austin fluffed another decent chance. To give the Reds some credit, they did threaten twice more in the dying minutes.
Scott Wiseman crashed a shot wide, before O’Brien let fly with a 25-yard free-kick that that was deflected just wide.
Burnley (4-4-2): Grant 7; Mee 7, Duff 7, Edgar 8, Trippier 7 (Easton 90, 5); Wallace 8 (Bartley 81, 5), Marney 8, McCann 7, McQuoid 6; Rodriguez 8, Austin 7 (Ings 81, 6). Subs not used: Jensen, Treacy. Booked: McCann (29), Duff (83)
Barnsley (4-4-2): Steele 6; Golbourne 6, McNulty 7, Edwards 6, Wiseman 7; Perkins 5 (Doyle 46, 6), Smith 5, Done 4 (Dagnall 46, 7), Tonge 4 (O’Brien 29, 6); Davies 7, Gray 5. Subs not used: Preece, Foster.
Goals: Rodriguez 3, Austin 63
Oliver Langford (West Mids)