Two more points were dropped after another frustrating performance by Burnley against a Middlesbrough side happy with a draw from the outset.
The Clarets dominated long periods of the game but could not get the breakthrough they deserved despite a plethora of balls into the box. In the last 20 minutes of the game the visitors finally woke up and it was Burnley that seemed to end up holding on for a rare goalless draw and missing the chance to close up on that elusive sixth place.
A starting formation of 4-1-4-1 was used but with the noticeable absence of both Danny Ings and Ross Wallace.
Burnley did start brightly with an early first minute chance in the box for Dean Marney but the ball just slipped away from him.
Then on four minutes came the first real chance of the game following a corner. Brian Stock had a shot blocked but the ball fell to a waiting Charlie Austin who forced keeper Jason Steele to tip over the crossbar.
On seven minutes Junior Stanislas had a 20 yard shot blocked, then two minutes later Chris McCann played a great through-ball to Austin only to see it intercepted, but McCann was there again and he fizzed a shot just over the top of the Boro goal.
Kieran Trippier was nearly on the scoresheet after a quarter of an hour. He stepped up to take a 25-yard free kick that hit the stanchion holding the back of the net up. Some sections of the Turf Moor crowd thought it was nearer than it was judging by their collective gasps.
Then Trippier had a ten-minute purple patch where he seemed to be involved in everything and put numerous balls into the box but to no avail.
Then came a superb chance as Stanislas played the ball to Marney who saw his well-aimed header saved by Steele and parried out for a corner.
In the last five minutes of the half Sean Dyche swapped his wingers to try and get the goal that was desperately needed. It didn’t come and half time arrived without the north-east side having a single chance.
The home side started the second half with a few corners but Stanislas seemed unable to put the ball where the Claret shirts were.
Ten minutes in there was a rare shot on goal from Jason Shackell from at least 40 yards. Let’s just say you could see the reason why he wasn’t a striker. However, he may be able to get a job with Wigan Warriors.
Then, on the hour mark, Middlesbrough finally had a chance after being awarded a free kick after a foul by Kevin Long. André Bikey, the footballer formally known as André Amougou, formally known as André Bikey or TFFKAAAFKAAB for short, back-heeled the kick only for Grant Leadbitter’s effort to be put wide of Lee Grant’s post. But this seemed to spur Boro on as they began to look more dangerous.
But five minutes later there was a contentious decision. McCann was fouled by Nicky Bailey on the 18-yard line. If the foul is committed on the line then it is deemed to be inside the box and therefore in my opinion it should have been a penalty. However, the referee Kevin Wright did not appear to see it that way and the Clarets had to settle with a 19-yard free kick, which Trippier hooked wide of the post.
With 20 minutes to go, Dyche replaced Brian Stock and Martin Paterson with Sam Vokes and Keith Treacy respectively and changed the formation to 4-4-2.
They were both involved in a couple of quick chances. Treacy crossed to Austin in the area who chested it then let fly from close range only for it to unusually be off target and over the bar and a Marney cross found Vokes who also missed the target with his header.
Grant finally had some real work to do when Curtis Main curled a shot just wide of the upright followed by a 20 yard free kick from former Burnley loanee Rhys Williams that dipped wide too.
Then in injury time a fantastic acrobatic effort from Main, that would have even impressed Zlatan Ibrahimović, landed on the roof of the net.
In a last ditched effort to grab all three points, substitute Mustapha Carayol fired a dipping shot that Grant just managed to tip over the crossbar.
That was that and a goalless draw, the first since last April, was the outcome. It was definitely a case of two points dropped than one point won and two points from the last possible 12 is not really promotion form.
The play-offs are beginning to look long-way-offs!
Burnley 0-0 Middlesbrough
Man Of The Match: Kieran Trippier
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Lafferty, Shackell, Long, Stock (Vokes 70), Marney, McCann, Austin, Paterson (Treacy 70), Stanislas. Subs: Mills, Edgar, Bartley, Richards, Jensen.
Booked: Long 60, Marney 76
Middlesbrough: Steele, Friend, Bikey, McManus, Halliday (Miller 73), R Williams, Bailey, Leadbitter, McEachran, Emnes (Main 68), Smallwood (Carayol 53).
Subs: L Williams, Ledesma, Haroun, Leutwiler.
Booked: McEachran 90
Referee: Kevin Wright
Attendance: 12,394 (678 Boro)