Dale Inflict First Defeat On Clarets
The Clarets suffered their first hiccup of pre-season as Rochdale gave their preparations for the new campaign the perfect lift with an impressive win at Spotland.
After four successive victories in their build-up to the real thing, Eddie Howe's men were given food for thought in their last public work-out before next Tuesday night's Capital One Cup tie at Port Vale.
That's when it really matters but Burnley will have to do better then against League Two opposition after struggling to make much click against a Dale side looking to bounce back from relegation under former Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman.
First-half goals from former Clarets' loanee Dele Adebola and Ashley Grimes put Dale in control.
And although Burnley carved out plenty of sights of goal, Ray Putterill's 67th-minute strike took the game away from them before Charlie Austin got his fifth goal of the pre-season campaign with a late header from Junior Stanislas's corner.
The Clarets had started with a partially experimental line-up designed to spread the workload across Howe's squad with a hitherto unseen central midfield pairing of David Edgar and Danny Ings.
But despite the unfamiliar personnel, Howe will not have been pleased with the way Ashley Grimes and Kevin McIntrye opened up the Burnley defence for McIntyre to square the ball to Adebola to open the scoring after just four minutes.
The veteran striker had only been a Rochdale player for about an hour after completing a free transfer to Spotland but he needed no reminder of where the goalposts were as he swivelled to steer a low left-foot shot beyond Lee Grant.
Burnley's response was instant as Ings, who enjoyed the creative side of his temporary role, burst into the box from Martin Paterson's lay-off to clip a shot just over the top via the legs of Dale keeper Josh Lillis.
Lillis was to have a busy first half as the Clarets got themselves into a host of inviting positions and forced ten corners.
But in truth his only testing save came four minutes before half time when Kieran Trippier and Paterson again linked well with Paterson running onto a Trippier pass to hit a first-time effort across the keeper, who got down smartly to save to his right.
Ings, Ross Wallace and Sam Vokes all went close from distance and Vokes should have done better when he poked a volley wide from Edgar's pass.
But by then the Clarets were 2-0 down as Dale doubled their lead after 26 minutes.
The home side had looked bright throughout with Adebola a constant handful and former Accrington Stanley captain Peter Cavanagh prompting from midfield.
And when Cavanagh released George Donnelly down the inside left channel, Donnelly's low cross was perfectly placed for Grimes to slide in ahead of Joseph Miller and convert at the far post.
Grimes and Cavanagh both also put efforts over the top, while Adebola and Ryan Edwards should made more of free headers before the break, when Howe limited his changes to the introduction in goal of Brian Jensen.
The Clarets needed to alter something on the pitch but with Rochdale prepared to battle and put a foot in to protect their lead it was tough going for the visitors.
With Ings getting his share of attention he finally succumbed to a knock as Howe introduced both Chris McCann and Dean Marney and switched his formation to go with three central defenders.
But within minutes of the change the Clarets found themselves three down as substitute Putterill found space in the box to run onto McIntyrpe's chipped ball forward and steer a clever volley into the top corner at full stretch.
Jensen then had to save from Jason Kennedy and in an increasingly niggly finish the Clarets were denied when on-loan Blackburn defender Edwards, a thorn in the side of Burnley in last season's FA Youth Cup semi-final, got back to rob Paterson as he shaped to shoot.
But with five minutes to go the Clarets did finally find the net when substitute Austin continued his flying start as he headed home to at least preserve Burnley's record of scoring in each of their games to date as the countdown continues to the big kick-off.
BURNLEY: Grant (Jensen ht), Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Edgar, Mills, Wallace (Marney 64), Stanislas, Ings (McCann 64), Paterson, Vokes (Austin 75). Subs: O'Neill, MacDonald, Long, Hewitt, Mee, Lafferty, Porter.
ROCHDALE: Lillis, Pearson, McIntyre (Bennett 83), R Edwards (Rafferty 90), P Edwards, Kennedy, Tutte, Donnelly (Craney 70), Grimes (Curran 62), Cavanagh (McConville 62), Adebola (Putterill ht). Subs: Minihan, Byrne, Watson, Adabaki, Barry-Murphy.
Referee: J Moss