Barnsley 1 Burnley 1
Charlie Austin honed his sights for Sunday’s Lancashire derby with his 21st goal of the season as the country's leading scorer made a timely return to the scoresheet.
Austin headed home Ross Wallace’s fifth-minute corner to give the Clarets early hope of a second successive away win to take into their showdown with Blackburn Rovers.
It was the striker’s 18th Championship goal of the season – more than Barnsley’s whole team had previously managed between them.
But the Tykes belied their recent form and position near the relegation zone to hit back through Marcus Tudgay before half time as the Clarets failed to hit their recent heights.
And although substitute Danny Ings struck a post for the visitors in the second half, boss Sean Dyche could probably have few complaints at having to settle for a share of the spoils as Burnley drew away from home for only the second time since March.
Despite a first away win under his charge at Hull four days previously, it was no surprise to see Dyche make a change to the Clarets’ defence with Kieran Trippier instantly restored to right-back following his one-match ban.
There was also a re-call for Marvin Bartley for the first time since Eddie Howe’s last game in charge in place of the suspended Dean Marney and both Trippier and Bartley had parts to play in Burnley’s flying start.
It was Trippier’s cross, following a typical link-up with Wallace, which Bartley dummied for Akos Buzsaky to inadvertently deflect wide of his own goal for a corner.
And when Wallace delivered the set-piece, Austin timed his run perfectly to evade his marker and head powerfully down and into the net for his first goal in four games.
For a side which had lost its last three home games and not tasted victory at Oakwell since the start of September, falling behind so early was the worst possible scenario.
But to Barnsley’s credit they didn’t crumble and forced a couple of quick-fire corners in a quest to post a rapid response.
Most of the play was in Burnley’s half but, as has become their way, the Clarets stood firm and with 25 minutes gone they could have doubled their lead.
Brian Stock provided the out-ball with a long pass to Austin, who beat Burnley old boy Stephen Foster to put in a cross which Chris McCann didn’t do justice to with a header from 12 yards out.
McCann then returned the compliment with Austin unable to make contact as the Clarets began to up the tempo.
But just as though it looked as though they might take control, Barnsley struck out of the blue to level it up.
The Tykes’ earlier threat had receded but when Scott Golbourne delivered a cross towards the penalty spot a moment’s hesitation allowed Tudgay to react first and head beyond Lee Grant to make it 1-1 seven minutes before the half-time break which suddenly Burnley were glad to see.
Dyche reacted by sending on Ings in place of Bartley at the start of the second half and pushing Martin Paterson into a more central striking role and the move almost paid instant dividends.
Wallace had already tested Lee Steele with a free-kick before the Barnsley keeper was beaten by a low 20-yard drive from Ings, following a Paterson pass, which hit the base of a post and bounced away to safety.
The Clarets continued to press but couldn’t chisel out another chance as they surrendered possession too cheaply and, as in the first half, Barnsley responded with a decent spell of their own as Craig Davies went close with a skidding drive from 25 yards with 20 minutes to go.
With the Tykes beginning to sense the chance to end their dismal run of only one win from their last 11 games, Buzsaky also tried his luck from long range.
But Grant was able to make a comfortable save before doing likewise to collect a volley from substitute Jim O’Brien as the hosts were kept at arm’s length.
Dyche then gave Sam Vokes the last ten minutes to try and turn the tide back Burnley’s way and the striker again won his share of headers as the Clarets countered.
But like his team-mates there was to be no decisive sight of goal for Vokes as a hurried clearance by Jimmy McNulty from an Austin cross was the closest Burnley – who lacked their recent fluency – came to nicking a late winner.
At the other end Grant’s injury time stop from a Buzsaky free-kick ensured neither side went home entirely happy but with Michael Duff's booking for the foul the only yellow card dished out all night, the Clarets know they will have all their key men available for Sunday's showdown.
Barnsley: Steele, Cranie, Golbourne, Foster, McNulty, Greening, Tudgay, Buzsaki, Mellis (O’Brien 82), Lazarus, Davies (Sinclair 80). Subs: Stone, Wiseman, Cywka, Dawson, Alnwick.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Mee, Duff, Shackell, Stock (Edgar 82), McCann, Bartley (Ings ht), Austin, Paterson, Wallace (Vokes 84). Subs: Lafferty, Stewart, Stanislas, Jensen.
Booked: Duff 90+2
Referee: Kevin Wright
Attendance: 8,610 (Burnley 1,047)