Burnley 0, Brighton 0: Albion secure hard-earned point at Turf Moor as survival battle hots up
The Premier League survival race took another twist this afternoon, meaning Brighton & Hove Albion will have to continue to look over their shoulders despite a hard-earned point at Burnley.
Albion slipped a place to 14th in the table despite holding Sean Dyche's Europa League chasing side to a 0-0 draw at Turf Moor.
With three games to play, Chris Hughton's side, despite the point, are now only five clear of the bottom three with Southampton's 2-1 home victory moving them up a place and onto 32 points.
Huddersfield's defeat at home to Everton leaves them on 36 points, followed by West Ham (35) and Swansea (33 - although due to Chelsea in the 5.30pm kick-off), all remain behind Albion (37).
The Seagulls went into the game knowing that after their 0-0 draw with Liverpool, Stoke City would struggle to catch them in the standings and the point now makes that mathematically impossible. The Potters, who have 30 points, have two games left and a goal difference of -33. West Brom remain bottom despite victory at Newcastle United.
At Turf Moor, it was a game of few real clear-cut chances, although it was the hosts that had the better of them. Particularly a huge goalmouth scramble in the first half when a combination of Maty Ryan, Shane Duffy, Bruno and Lewis Dunk cleared three efforts of the line.
And the form book did suggest a 0-0 draw as Burnley went into the match having scored just 15 goals at home in the league all season - the lowest in the division - while Albion were the joint lowest scorers away, having notched just nine.
But with Burnley's impressive form this season - one of the biggest over-achievers in the league - any sort of result was a bonus for Brighton.
Albion made one change from the side that drew 1-1 with Spurs 11 days ago. Leonardo Ulloa came in, making the first league start of his loan spell, taking the place of top-scorer Glenn Murray.
The visitors were again without midfielder Davy Propper, who served the final match of a three- suspension for his red card against Huddersfield.
As soon as the game began as did unsavory booing towards Brighton left-back Gaetan Bong. The home supporters opted to shamelessly heckle the defender for the entire game in an apparent supportive move of former striker Jay Rodrequez, after the now West Brom player had an accusation of racism by Bong 'not proven' earlier in the month.
The first half chance went to the hosts on seven minutes as a drilled Ashley Westwood ball into the ball was scuffed at by former Albion striker Ashley Barnes around 12 yards out and it rolled wide.
On 15 minutes, a missplaced Lewis Dunk pass was intercepted by Johann Berg Gudmundsson on the halfway line. The Burnley man was allowed too much space to skip forward, but skewed wide from the edge of the area.
Albion's first real opportunity came four minutes later as Bruno ghosted in unmarked at the back of the area and his half-volley from Pascal Gross' corner flew across the face of goal and wide. The hands on head moment suggested the Albion captain knew he should have done better.
The visitors somehow kept the home side out from an almighty goalmouth scramble on 24 minutes. A shot from Barnes from a fee kick was first blocked on the line by a combination of Shane Duffy and Maty Ryan, Ryan then denied Jack Cork and the player then back-heeled to Kevin Long, whose effort hit Dunk's shoulder and was cleared. Big Burnley appeals for a handball in the melee were also waved away.
At the other end, Albion, in a rare attack, tried to carve open the defence as neat inter-passing between Kayal, Jose Izquierdo and Anthony Knockaert saw the former slide in, but he failed to get any connection on his effort.
Eight minutes before the break, a neat front-post cross by Matthew Lowton was met by Barnes on the half-volley, but it was saved by Ryan at his feet.
A diving Ryan save to his right then kept out a Gudmundsson free kick that looked to be nestling in the bottom corner and Burnley had second penalty appeals waved away as the ball appeared to strike Bruno's arm in the area.
Albion had the first chance within 30 seconds of the second half as he weighted a ball into the area for Ulloa, but the striker was not gambling and did not get on the end of it. In a bright start, Gross' angled effort was then held by Nick Pope.
Burnley substitute Sam Vokes then almost immediately put Burnley ahead with his first touch as he tried to get on the end of James Tarkowski's knock-down from Gudmondsson's free kick.
Glenn Murray was also called upon from the bench and was immediately in on the action; his deflected shot from the right of the box went behind for a corner.
Albion held out the final ten minutes which passed without either goalkeeper being called into action.
Burnley: Pope, Long, Lowton, Ward, Tarkowski, Westwood (Hendrick 81), Lennon (Nkoudou 68), Gudmundsson, Cork, Wood (Vokes 65), Barnes. Unused subs: Heaton, Taylor, Wells, Bardsley.
Albion: Ryan, Bruno (Schelotto 89), Duffy, Dunk, Bong, Knockaert, Kayal, Stephens, Izquierdo (March 85), Gross, Ulloa (Murray 67). Unused subs: Krul, Knockaert, Goldson, Locadia, Suttner.
Attendace: 19, 459 (1,912 away).
Referee: Roger East.