PL REPORT: Burnley 1 Leicester City 1
Clarets bounce back to gain valuable point against Champions League hopefuls Leicester
Matej Vydra’s first Premier League goal in more than a year wasn’t enough to give the Clarets a first home win in four games.
But the striker’s classy finish just five minutes in set the tone for an impressive performance which put another valuable point on the board against top-four opposition and edged Burnley nearer to Premier League safety.
It also took Sean Dyche’s points' haul as a Premier League manager to 250 as his men bounced back superbly from their beating at Tottenham on Sunday and a goalless draw with 10-man West Bromwich Albion last time out at Turf Moor.
The result was the same as Burnley shared the spoils at home for a fourth successive time thanks to Kelechi Iheanacho’s expertly-taken equaliser.
But the two displays were poles apart as the Clarets got back towards their best to move further away from the bottom three in their last mid-week home game of the season with two more games to go before a well-earned breather and chance to re-group for the final push.
The Clarets had Chris Wood back in their starting line-up as the striker aimed to become only the second player in the Premier League era to score in four successive games against a former club.
But rather than Wood going into the record books, it was Vydra who gave his side an early lead.
All three of the Czech Republic international’s goals this season had come in the cup competitions but he ended his long wait with an explosive finish.
The Clarets had been purposeful right from the start and when they forced City midfielder Hamza Choudhury into a mistake Vydra pounced.
Shifting the ball past stand-in defender Wilfred Ndidi, Vydra advanced into the penalty area before hammering a shot past Kasper Schmeichel into the top corner to claim his first Premier League goal since scoring in back-to-back games last February.
The Clarets – looking energised and hungry to improve a run of three successive home draws – unsettled Leicester’s re-jigged defence almost every time they got the ball forward and the ever-dangerous Wood almost got his goal when he fired at Schmeichel from a Jack Cork cross.
But Leicester, aiming to avoid a third successive defeat for the first time under the management of Brendan Rodgers, had chances of their own and Choudhury should have made amends for his earlier error when he met a cross from Timothy Castagne with an effort he put over the top via touch from Nick Pope.
Iheanacho then fired just wide and 11 minutes before the break he equalised with a classy finish.
Ndidi’s floated ball over Burnley’s defence tempted Pope off his line and the Clarets’ keeper was given no chance when Iheanacho swivelled to connect with a first-time volley which flew into the net.
That came as a blow to the Clarets who would have been disappointed not to lead at the break.
And even though James Tarkowski almost restored the advantage with a header from Dwight McNeil’s fine cross which Schmeichel did well to save, it also took a sharp stop from Pope to prevent Youri Tielemans from putting the Foxes in front.
Leicester had been beaten away from home only once in the league this season and no side had bettered their nine wins.
But five minutes into the second half they almost went behind for a second time as the Clarets again took the initiative.
A flowing move ended with Matt Lowton – making his 150th league appearance for the Clarets – delivering a perfect cross for Woods to attack and meet with a header that looked certain to find the net until Schmeichel made a magnificent save to his left-hand side.
The Clarets were certainly intent on going all out for the win that would take them beyond the 30-point mark and after Schmeichel had touched another Wood effort wide Ashley Westwood was only inches away from a brilliant goal as he sent an angled volley fizzing across the penalty area and against the far post.
But in a highly entertaining contest Leicester also had their moments and the Clarets twice lived dangerously with a quarter of an hour to go as Tielemans opted not to pull the trigger in front of goal and Ben Mee then had to make a vital block to deny Castagne.
The Foxes went even closer to a winner when Tielemans struck a deflected effort against a post.
But it would have been cruel on Burnley to be denied any reward for a performance that merited at least a point towards the ultimate goal of Premier League survival.
Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Brownhill, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Wood, Vydra (Rodriguez 90). Substitutes: Peacock-Farrell, Stephens, Pieters, Bardsley, Long, Long, Dunne, Richardson, Benson.
Leicester City: Schmeichel; Amartey, Ndidi, Soyuncu; Mendy (Fofana 67); Pereira, Choudhury (Tavares 78), Tielemans, Castagne; Iheanacho (Albrighton 67), Vardy. Substitutes: Ward, Under, Fuchs, Thomas, Leshabela, Daley-Campbell.
Booked: Fofana, Pereira
Referee: Andy Madley