We are still only in August and the embryonic weeks of the new Premier League season, and as such, trying to predict too much about what this result means for both Burnley and Leeds United is somewhat challenging. Yet you still feel that there was plenty to learn from both sides despite their respective waits for a first win of the season continuing here.
For Sean Dyche, there was the unwanted distinction of setting a new club record of 12 league games at home without a victory attached to this result. That will be undoubtedly more frustrating given how, up until the final few minutes, that long wait for a win at Turf Moor seemed destined to end. Chris Wood’s strike against his former club on the hour mark was not only what the hosts deserved, but it looked to be enough against a Leeds side who had perhaps frustrated their travelling support.
Yet for all of the entertainment Marcelo Bielsa’s side brought to the Premier League last season, this result showcased a very different trait in Leeds United, one we were not quite sure about. It is no exaggeration to suggest that they were victims of a robust, physical performance from their opponents here, with one or two challenges sailing incredibly close to the wind, including one from Ben Mee on Patrick Bamford as half-time approached.
But in the week of his first England call-up, Bamford’s response to that challenge was perhaps symptomatic of Leeds’ reaction to falling behind. He dusted himself off, as did Leeds, and when the ball fell to the striker in the Burnley penalty box three minutes from time, he did what all good strikers do, and turned the ball past Nick Pope. Harsh on Burnley given their dominance? Probably. But in the end, you feel both sides have something to build upon heading into the international break.
“There wasn’t a tremendous amount wrong with that performance,” Dyche said. “I thought we were decent and we weren’t a million miles away against tricky opposition.”
His side came closest to opening the scoring in the first half, but only when Bamford headed against the base of Illan Meslier’s post from a corner, coming perilously close to scoring an own goal. At that stage, Burnley were on top, and the momentum remained with the hosts after half-time.
When the goal finally arrived, it was no less than Burnley deserved. James Tarkowski’s header hit the crossbar, and as Leeds failed to clear their lines, Wood deflected a Matthew Lowton strike beyond Meslier. At the other end, the flair Leeds were renowned for last season is yet to materialise in the new campaign, underlined by a return of two points from the first three games. But while they remain below the levels of last season, there was fight and desire in abundance here.
“Apart from two segments in the middle of each half, we managed the game well,” Bielsa said.
They were second-best for large periods here though you felt the goal - coupled with the introduction of Jamie Shackleton from the bench - spurred them into life somewhat. They pressed and pushed, and just as the Burnley supporters were beginning to sniff the prospect of a first home win in months, Leeds’ resilience paid off.
There was a shade of fortune to the equaliser. Shackleton’s strike was blocked well by Mee, but only into the path of Bamford, who produced the decisive touch to turn it beyond Pope and earn Leeds a share of the points. It may not have been what Leeds deserved on the balance of play, but just as Dyche took heart from Burnley’s dominance here, Leeds can be comforted by the fact they found a way to avoid defeat.