Reading 0 Burnley 0
Burnley paid the penalty for missed chances in a controversial stalemate at Reading.
Top scorer Andre Gray saw his spot kick on the hour mark saved by Royals keeper Ali Al-Habsi with their best chance of the game.
The 18-goal striker also saw a golden chance in each half go astray as Burnley increasingly laid siege to the hosts’ goal in search of a winner.
But the Clarets had to settle for a share of the spoils that extended their unbeaten run to eight games and kept them hot on the heels of the top two.
January signing James Tarkowski replaced Michael Duff on the bench in the only change to the 18-man squad.
The Clarets starting line-up was unchanged for the fifth game league running – and the visitors should have been ahead within three minutes.
Scott Arfield picked out George Boyd with a smart ball in behind two defenders and when the wide man picked out Gray’s run to the near post, the Clarets top scorer somehow side-footed over from point-blank range.
The Royals created their first opening in the 13th minute, when Hal Robson-Kanu ran the right channel and crossed deep for strike partner Yann Kermorgant, whose firm downward header was kept out by a combination of the foot of the post and Tom Heaton’s outstretched arm.
But another good chance came Burnley’s way midway through the half. Good work by David Jones and Joey Barton released Boyd, whose reverse pass found Matt Lowton on the right.
The former Aston Villa defender picked out Vokes with a peach of a cross, but the Welshman could only flick his header well wide.
And after defending a spell of Reading pressure, the next chance fell to Boyd, who ran onto Vokes’ header and blazed over form 25 yards.
And when Gray raced from his own half and past every defender, with five minutes of the first half remaining, all that was missing was a final ball from the by-line to pick out a supporting claret shirt.
Brazilian Lucas Piazon, who scored in the first meeting of these sides at Turf Moor earlier in the season, wasted a free header from eight yards as the hosts made the early from the restart.
But the best chances continued to fall to Burnley and from Matt Lowton’s wicked low delivery, Gray was ruled to have flicked the cross inches wide of the far post under pressure from a defender, again from point-blank range.
Jones’ audacious free kick from close to the right touchline then forced Al-Habsi to claw the ball off the inside of the post.
And just before the hour controversy reigned as Gray went down after rounding Al-Habsi and referee James Adcock pointed to the spot.
Reading players immediately surrounded the official to appeal the decision, and as the referee struggled to restore calm, Robson-Kanu was booked for unsporting behaviour after roughing up the penalty spot with his boots.
The long delay didn’t help Gray and the Championship top goalscorer eventually saw his high spot kick saved by the Omani international.
Ironically, it was Robson-Kanu who had the hosts’ first real chance of the half, blazing over on the counter attack.
But the pressure from Burnley was now relentless and from another magical cross from Lowton, Al-Habsi punched clear to Jones, whose first time, goal-bound effort was blocked.
Rouwen Hennings replaced the luckless Gray with four minutes of normal time remaining.
But the Clarets could not fashion one more chance that might have been enough to edge a tight contest.
BURNLEY: Heaton, Lowton, Mee, Keane, Ward, Arfield, Barton, Jones, Boyd, Vokes, Gray (Hennings 86).
Subs: Robinson, Kightly, Taylor, Ulvestad, Tarkowski, Darikwa
Booked: Barton 67
READING: Al-Habsi, Gunter, McShane, Norwood, Hector, Robson-Kanu, Obita, Piazon, Quinn, Kermorgant, Cooper.
Subs: Bond, Evans, Rakels. McCleary, Ferdinand, John, Barrett.
Booked: Robson-Kanu 58, Obita 70
Ref: J Adcock
Att: 16,773 (1,428)