Burnley accept gift after Bigirimana is hit by birthday blues
The Clarets, who had lost their previous two games, were second best for most of the first half and fell behind in the second period when Cody McDonald headed his first goal since joining Coventry from Norwich in the summer.
But Burnley grabbed a 73rd-minute equaliser when Ross Wallace was left alone in the area and he fired into the roof of the net.
Coventry midfielder Gael Bigirimana, celebrating his 18th birthday, then received his marching orders for a foul on Kieran Trippier before substitute Charlie Austin won it for Burnley from close range at the finish after the home team failed to clear a corner.
Howe said: “I was disappointed in us in the first half an hour because I thought we played too deep and Coventry passed the ball around us. They looked like a good side and it looked as if it was going to be a difficult afternoon.
“That’s why I made the change and then I thought we were the better team for the rest of the first half and in the second. We took the game to them and Charlie Austin was on the end of most things for us.
“The sending-off was harsh but was probably the right decision. It was two-footed but it was sad to see him sent off.
“This result gives us a chance. We are trying to build something here because there have been big changes in the summer throughout the club and we are trying to create a new team, very quickly. We have got the basis of a good young team.”
Coventry manager Andy Thorn said of the dismissal: “It was a two-footed tackle and so it had to be a sending-off. He also let his man run off him for their first goal so it has not been a good birthday for him.”
Coventry City: Murphy, Christie, Keogh, Wood, Hussey, Clingan, Bell, Bigirimana, Thomas, Jutkiewicz, McDonald (O’Donovan 68). Unused substitutes: Dunn, Baker, Deegan, Cameron.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Amougou (Mee 65), Easton, Stanislas, McCann, Bartley, Wallace, Rodriguez (Hines 75), Treacy (Austin 40). Unused substitutes: Stewart, MacDonald.
Referee: G Scott (Oxfordshire).
Man of the match: Charlie Austin.