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17:41 21st January 2012


A year on from Eddie Howe's first game in charge the Clarets finally recorded another goalless draw as their push for a top-six place was put on hold.

Not since Howe's bow as Burnley boss at Scunthorpe 12 months ago have the Clarets been involved in such a stalemate and it had been 21 Championship games since they last finished all-square in a Championship fixture.

Even now, though, they will feel a point was the least they merited from a game when one goal was always likely to be enough to win it.

Only a remarkable late save from County keeper Frank Fielding prevented Jay Rodriguez (above right) from proving the difference as the Clarets monopolised the handful of chances on offer.

With Derby proving obstinate opponents in their bid to extend a winning run of their own that has propelled them towards the play-off places, the end result was an afternoon of frustration.

But with no danger of leaking the kind of late goal that has cost them of a couple of costly points at Turf Moor earlier this season, the Clarets - with five clean sheets in six League games - can still point to the progress they have made since Howe's last blank 53 League games and almost a year ago to the day.

Jay Rodriguez goes close early on

With injuries to Martin Paterson and Junior Stanislas forcing Howe into two changes from the Clarets' 'Performance of the Week' showing at Middlesbrough last time out, there were starting chances against the in-form Rams for Charlie Austin and Keith Treacy.

And inside the first minute the pair almost combined to secure a lead as the Clarets looked to pick up where they left off on Teesside.

Treacy's ball into the feet of Austin saw the striker make space for a shot which was goal-bound until County defender Jason Shackell stuck out a leg to make a block.

The Clarets' lively start continued with a clever ball from Ross Wallace releasing Rodriguez to cross for Treacy to head over the top from in front of goal.

Rodriguez had the Rams at full stretch with his clever movement and another driving run from the striker ended with a skidding drive which had Fielding scrambling to his left to escort just past the post.

Michael Duff joins the attack

Rodriguez then almost got on the end of a searching long ball from Kieran Trippier as the Burnley strove for the breakthrough.

But with Derby conceding just once in their last five games they were unlikely to let the openings keep coming and with the home side starting to run out of momentum, the Rams reached the break on level terms.

Nigel Clough's side hadn't offered much going forward but a shot from Theo Robinson which tested former County keeper Lee Grant hinted at their potential threat two minutes before half time.

Both sides then made a change with new loan signing Josh McQuoid coming on for the Clarets at the start of the second half in place of Wallace with the winger unable to shake off a knock he picked up earlier in the piece.

Frank Fielding holds his breath as the ball comes back off the post

County replaced James Bailey with Jeff Hendrick in the middle of the park before sending on their own loan recruit in the shape of young Sunderland striker Ryan Noble.

However, their lack of urgency at every set-play suggested a point may have been the limit of their ambitions and that stubborness left the Clarets with a tough barrier to break down.

Austin went close with a fine header from Dean Marney's cross which Fielding saved at full stretch before gathering more comfortably a follow-up shot from McQuoid.

And Treacy was then only inches away from fluking a lead as his deep cross cannoned back off the inside of the far post and off Shackell for a corner, which Michael Duff met with a flying header which went just over the bar.

Derby's recent speciality of 1-0 wins remained a nagging thought and it took a fine block from Duff at the other end to intercept an effort from Craig Bryson before Shaun Barker headed wide from the corner that followed as the Rams' mounted a rare threat.

Dean Marney goes into the book

But with Howe making a further switch with the introduction of fresh legs in Marvin Bartley to try and force a late winner, twice within the space of 60 seconds the Clarets almost got it.

McQuoid had shown one or two nice touches in his first outing in a claret and blue shirt and both times he engineered the decisive opening down the right flank.

The first of his passes released Austin to fire a low shot just wide of the far post and then when he released Bartley, the substitute's low cross was helped on to Rodriguez who must have thought he had bagged the points.

The striker's angled shot was all but in until Fielding stuck out a leg to make a miraculous save and keep his side's unbeaten run intact.

Charlie Austin almost wins it at the death

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Mee, Duff, Edgar, McCann, Marney, Wallace (McQuoid ht), Rodriguez, Austin, Treacy (Bartley 72). Subs: Hines, Easton, Jensen.

Booked: Mee 46, Marney 67

Derby: Fielding, Brayford, Roberts, Barker, Shackell, Bryson, Green, Bailey (Hendrick ht), Robinson (Noble 57), Ward, Ball (Buxton 84). Subs: Davies, Legzdins.

Booked: Ball 44, Barker 64

Referee: Lee Probert.

Attendance: 14,302

    Data provided by Press Association