Burnley 0 Middlesbrough 0: Turf Moor deadlock as Boro settle for away point
Tony Mowbray’s play-off occupants headed into the contest bearing a grim form sheet of six defeats in their last seven npower Championship matches.
But Burnley, 10th in the table and seven points behind their opponents with a game in hand, could not turn their dominance into the required amount of clear-cut chances.
Top scorer Austin spurned their best opening of the second period before Boro produced a late rally with substitutes Mustapha Carayol and Curtis Main to the fore.
Following four-goal defeats on the road to Ipswich and Crystal Palace, last night’s clean sheet comes as a boost to Mowbray, although Boro now hold only a two-point advantage over seventh-placed Brighton having played a game more.
Steele was at full-stretch to turn Austin’s first-time effort from the edge of the box behind after Brian Stock’s shot from a Junior Stanislas corner was blocked by McManus.
Burnley right-back Kieran Trippier exerted his influence throughout the opening stages, glancing the roof of the net with a free-kick before cleverly beating Middlesbrough defender George Friend to loft a ball just beyond his onrushing team-mates.
The insipid nature of Boro’s first-half display was in keeping with a side on such a dismal run, but Burnley were unable to fashion a clear opportunity until Marney met Trippier’s near-post cross with a fine header that Steele was equal to. The game’s outstanding performer began the second half with a skilful burst into the box that was robustly but fairly ended by Steele.
A Middlesbrough attempt on goal finally materialised with an hour played. Carayol drew a foul and a yellow card from Long and Grant Leadbitter drove wide from the resulting free-kick.
Nicky Bailey hacked down Chris McCann in an even more inviting position, coming perilously close to conceding a penalty, but Trippier curled past the post.
Carayol injected a degree of impetus to the visitors’ sporadic attacks and the former Bristol Rovers winger teed up Main to send a snap-shot wide.
Austin handed Boro a let-off in the when he fired over on the angle from close range.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Long, Shackell, Lafferty, Marney, Stock (Vokes 70), McCann, Paterson (Treacy 70), Austin, Stanislas. Unused substitutes: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Bartley, Richards.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Bailey, Bikey, McManus, Friend, Rhys Williams, Smallwood (Carayol 53), Leadbitter, McEachran, Halliday (Miller 73), Emnes (Main 68). Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Ledesma, Luke Williams, Haroun.
Referee: K Wright (Cambridgeshire).