Leeds United emerged from Burnley battle unscathed

TACKLE: Luke Ayling challenges Burnley's Chris WoodTACKLE: Luke Ayling challenges Burnley's Chris Wood
TACKLE: Luke Ayling challenges Burnley's Chris Wood
Bielsaball is all about elegance, style, risk-taking. But what makes the beautiful game so beautiful, and the English game in particular, is that there are lots of different ways to play it.

Burnley knew that if they played Leeds United at their own game, they would lose. The Whites, who swept them aside 4-0 on their last visit to Turf Moor in May, are infinitely better at it. But the Clarets are masters at what they do.

It was Burnley who won the cross-pennine clash of styles, turning the game into a niggly, petty, ugly, stop-start battle. You would assume, then, they would win it, but Leeds showed the character to hang in and claim a point.

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Both goals were fittingly scrappy, poached by Leeds centre-forwards past and present Chris Wood and Patrick Bamford.

Wood's opening goal, the 30,000th in the Premier League was instantly forgettable but you do not get extra points for style.

James Tarkowski headed against the woodwork at a corner, helped on its way perhaps by the faintest touch of glove from Illan Meslier. Leeds just could not get the ball away and when Matt Lowton shot from the back of the penalty area, Wood, stood just in front of the goalkeeper, got a slight touch to take it past him. If Burnley had been defended that, they would surely have pushed out, arms raised, and stopped Wood lurking there but Luke Ayling dropped off, making Meslier's life more difficult.

Although there were only 64 minutes gone, it looked like the storyline had been written but Leeds refused to accept their fate.

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Raphinha did well to get into the area and unleash a shot Mee threw himself in front of in the 86th minute but from there it became another scramble.

The ball fell to substitute Jamie Shackleton, whose own shot hit Mee and Bamford reacted quickest. An unlikely point had been rescued on a tough day for Leeds.

They might have known it was going to be when Junior Firpo and Mateusz Klich were ruled out with Covid-19, leaving a very green bench against a Burnley team who had seven players over the age of 28 on theirs, including the returning Aaron Lennon.

The first few minutes gave an indication of the game we should expect, Bamford and Tarkowski spoken to for some wrestling which would not have been out of place at the Olympics and Leeds pressing in Burnley's faces.

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At times the players overstepped the mark - sometimes too heavy-handed in their tackling, but not always easy judge because of the willingness of both sets of players to throw themselves to the turf. Referee Michael Oliver seemed determined not to overuse his whistle or his book.

There was a Tarkowski elbow in the back of Bamford's head and Ashley Barnes pulling Pascal Struijk's shirt with one hand, wrapping his other around the defender's thigh before Oliver began booking players, punishing Josh Brownhill for a foul on Bamford. A couple of minutes later Diego Llorente was fortunate to escape punishment for wrestling Wood at a Burnley corner.

It made it the sort of the game which suited the hosts more.

Ben Mee had a goal disallowed for a foul in the build-up after 26 minutes and shortly afterwards Meslier came off his line to save from the clearly offside Wood. The reluctance to take a decision on that cost Stuart Dallas a nasty whack Barnes was booked for. It was a borderline red card but it was clear which way Oliver was trying to err.

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Mee got the same leeway when he fouled Bamford at the end of the half.

Johann Gudmundsson curled a shot wide and Dallas had to get back and tackle the midfielder after winning a header but failing to get the ball safe.

Leeds got through it and started to pose problems themselves in the last 10 minutes of the half.

Rodrigo played Raphinha in but his ball to the far post lacked the run to make it a good one. Many Leeds moves just lacked the final pass or touch.

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When they broke from one area to the other with two passes and a cross, it won a corner Raphinha's shot was blocked form. A lovely pass from Kalvin Phillips was met with too heavy a touch from Bamford.

Jack Harrison also had a shot blocked at a corner and Bamford fired over from a tight angle but Burnley still had their moment, a corner deflecting off Bamford and onto the Leeds post.

The second half reverted back to more the sort of game Burnley wanted, although chances were sparse until Wood opened the scoring.

Burnley then made the mistake of sitting off to defend their lead, confident a side who had not had a shot on target would not make them regret it. They did.

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Despite the pressure Leeds applied, it never felt like an equaliser was coming until Bamford popped up with it.

The ugliness continued beyond full-time, the two sets of supporters confronting one another either side of the line of Hi-Viz separating them in the Barnfield Construction Stand.

It was a game to forget, a rare example of a Leeds match that was not great to watch.

Leeds, though, got through it, still looking for their first league win of the season, but undefeated on the day. That was all that mattered.

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Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Gudmundsson (Lennon 64), Brownhill, Westwood, McNeil; Wood, Barnes (Vydra 79).

Unused substitutes: Cork, Hennessey, Rodriguez, Collins, Pieters, Bardsley, Thomas.

Leeds United: Meslier; Llorente (Shackleton 65), Cooper, Struijk; Ayling, Phillips, Dallas; Raphinha, Rodrigo (Roberts 73), Harrison; Bamford.

Unused substitutes: Forshaw, Klaesson, Costa, Gelhardt, Cresswell, Summerville, McCarron.

Referee: M Oliver (Ashington).

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