Burnley 0-0 West Bromwich Albion: Tired hosts hang on against ten-man visitors
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Ten-man West Bromwich Albion were left to rue poor finishing in a stalemate with Burnley at Turf Moor. 

Semi Ajayi's red card -- after half an hour -- was a huge blow for Sam Alladryce. However, his team took the game to Burnley and actually looked like they were the outfit who were playing with an extra man on the field. 

The Baggies made two changes to the team that drew against Manchester United, with Darnell Furlong and Matt Phillips replacing Lee Peltier and Robert Snodgrass.

Sean Dyche was able to recall Ben Mee after his head injury but Ashley Barnes, Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady were all out with injury. Josh Brownhill and Matej Vydra came in to fill the void. 

Strong start

It was the visitors who started the better with Matheus Pereira testing Nick Pope with a free-kick in the first five minutes. 

Burnley looked to fight back from their sluggish start but Jay Rodriguez couldn't direct his glancing header on target, latching onto Matt Lowton's inviting delivery. 

However, it was Albion who were looking the more likely in forward areas. 

Furlong chopped in on his left foot but his curling effort sailed narrowly wide of Pope's far post. 

Shortly after, Pereira fizzed an opportunity over the bar and Ainsley Maitland-Niles forced Pope into action with a low drive from outside the box. 

Unfortunately for West Brom, the game turned on its head after 29 minutes. 

Burnley broke with pace and Vydra looked set to speed past Semi Ajayi, only for the defender to instinctively block the ball with his hand.

Mike Dean went over to the touch-screen monitor for the first time since that infamous Tomas Soucek dismissal. Thankfully for Dean, there was little controversy about brandishing the red card this time around. 

The sending off stagnated Albion's forward play but they managed to retain a strong defensive shape; Dara O'Shea came on for the unfortunate Phillips to complete the back-four. Burnley's tempo was slow and they struggled to break down their resilient deep-block. 

Burnley fans have become accustomed to seeing sluggish first-half displays so there would have been some optimism for a revival after the interval. 

McNeil was quick off the blocks, immediately surging past Furlong and whipping a teasing delivery into the box. Rodriguez got a flick on the cross but Sam Johnstone managed to gather the ball. 

Shortly after, the Clarets thought they had won a penalty when Matt Lowton's knockdown ricocheted off the arm of Kyle Bartley. It looked to be a little clumsy from the big defender but, because bounces can be difficult to react to, VAR gave him the benefit of the doubt. 

That promising injection of attacking intent quickly fizzled out for Burnley though, as Albion regained their focus and started to ask some questions in an attacking sense. 

Baggies bounce

Pereira shifted up the centre of the pitch without a challenge but he dragged an effort wide from just outside the box. It was a warning sign for Burnley but they didn't pay much attention.

Maitland-Niles worked himself into the box from a wide position before sending an effort over the bar. 

Just moments later, Burnley lost possession and Mbaye Diagne sprinted into gaping space. The forward took the ball around Mee but, from six-yards, he could only crash his effort against the bar. A huge chance that was followed up by an even bigger one! 

After being teed-up by Diagne, an unmarked Pereira inexplicably missed his kick from point-blank range with Pope almost resigned to losing his clean sheet. Maitland-Niles then reacted quickly but his effort was blocked. Pereira seized on the second loose ball, only to see his deflected strike headed off the line by James Tarkowski

In the final ten minutes, the all-action Pereira turned inside Mee but then elected to turn back onto the outside as opposed to planting an effort across Pope. That allowed Mee to recover and block the shot. The offside flag did later go up but replays show that it was very tight. 

Dyche had thrown young Joel Mumbongo onto the field in the hope of something fresh. In truth, the move just illustrated Burnley's injury crisis and the fatigued nature of those starting. 

It was a hard-fought point for West Brom, who would have absolutely taken a share of the spoils after the dismissal of Ajayi.

Irrespective of the circumstances however, Albion were excellent and they had the opportunities to comfortably win that match. Allardyce will take a lot of positives from the performance but, like last week against Man United, it will feel like two points were dropped. 

The result leaves West Brom nine point away from safety, although 17th-placed Newcastle United still have a game to play, while Burnley have temporarily moved nine points ahead of Fulham

Player ratings

Burnley: Pope 7; Lowton 7, Tarkowski 7, Mee 6, Taylor 5; Brownhill 5, Cork 5, Westwood 5, McNeil 6; Vydra 5, Rodriguez 5. 

Subs: Mumbongo n/a.

West Bromwich Albion: Johnstone 7; Furlong 7, Ajayi 3, Bartley 7, Townsend 7; Phillips 5, Gallagher 6, Yoksulu 7, Maitland-Niles 7, Pereira 6; Diagne 7. 

Subs: O'Shea 7.

Star Men

Matt Lowton: Burnley's right-back has had a resurgence in 2021 and his performance today was relatively solid. He covered a lot of ground and tried to make something happen when pushing forward, even if those efforts were largely in vain. 

Kyle Bartley: It wasn't his toughest game but the former Swansea City man really didn't give much joy to the Burnley forwards. Helped to maintain Albion's defensive shape when they lost a man. He probably  warranted a bit of fortune when the ball struck his arm in the penalty area. 

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