JUST inches separated two former Clarets from being the toast of Millmoor and the scourge of their old club.

Midfielder John Mullin and striker Alan Lee had arguably the best opportunities to settle an uninspiring encounter however, fortunately for Burnley, neither was able to inflict a telling wound.

It would have been a bitter pill for Clarets boss Stan Ternent to swallow, but thankfully he did not have to take the medicine.

Lee had his chance early on and, having shrugged off Ian Cox, forced Marlon Beresford to save but had he lifted his effort the outcome could have been drastically different.

For Mullin a fine cross from the right flank by Chris Sedgwick, a thorn in Burnley's side all game long, provided his chance but his first time effort on 59 minutes went inches wide of the target.

Instead all the game could serve up were two penalties scored inside the first 12 minutes. Burnley bagged the first when on nine minutes Dean West's ball forward sent Ian Moore haring for goal and the tugging and pulling of Moore's marker Chris Swailes started long before the box, but the Millers defender finally hauled the striker down well inside the area.

The referee's assistant flagged for a foul and, after long deliberation, Lichfield referee John Brandwood pointed to the spot.

Gareth Taylor calmly slotted the ball away to rise to the top of the club's scoring charts with his 12th of the season.

Three minutes later Brandwood was pointing to the spot again.

This time a ball in from the Millers right flank found Mullin who spun away from Paul Weller before going to ground.

Weller looked hugely aggrieved but the protests were waved away and veteran goal-getter Mark Robins tucked away his third goal in two games.

For Clarets boss Ternent it was just one of those things.

"I thought ours was a penalty and that theirs wasn't, " he said. "The referee felt there was a foul. I thought it was a poor decision but that was the way the referee saw it. He makes his decision and we have to live with it, it is as simple as that."

Whatever the merits of either penalty decision, there was not too much of merit in terms of attractive football.

A point ensured the Clarets are a little healthier in the race for promotion but when it came to plusses there was not much adding up to do.

Facing a side battling to avoid relegation the Clarets found themselves second best for long periods of the game and had a number of players struggling to find their form.

Winger Glen Little was particularly ineffective and lacking that outlet Paul Weller and Kevin Ball found themselves overrun in midfield.

Mullin and central partner Stuart Talbot looked hungry and with Sedgwick and Andy Monkhouse working well on the flanks the Millers played the more expansive game.

Burnley in turn had Alan Moore in strong form and Ian Moore eager up front, but in the end the performance of Beresford in goal probably had most influence.

Certainly the on loan keeper had shots to save but it was more the way he commanded his box and produced good clean punches at crucial moments that mattered more.

The Burnley keeper had to be at his sharpest as early as the third minute when Lee broke clear, Beresford getting down smartly to a shot that could have been better, but the visitors countered with striker Taylor and Moore gaining half chances but they were unable to truly threaten the Millers goal.

Then came the rash of penalties and the game looked as though it might just have found a spark.

Sadly the spark failed to ignite and the game slipped into a regular pattern of Rotherham holding much the greater possession but failing to really create too much, while the Clarets settled for counter-attacking when the opportunity arose.

Alan Moore with a curling shot and Dean West, whose shot was deflected wide by Paul Hurst, came closest to adding to the Clarets tally in the first half.

The Millers in turn saw Sedgwick shoot dismally high when well placed and then Beresford had to get down well to save as a clearance following a Monkhouse shot ricocheted off a Clarets defender towards his own goal.

Poor finishes from Sedgwick for the Millers and Weller for Burnley early in the second half suggested that little would change after the break. However, Mullin went close on 59 minutes with his first time effort from Sedgwick's cross and then Beresford did well to hold Talbot's header - again the source of the cross being the home side's right winger.

But both sides were finding the whole contest generally frustrating and that was epitomised by Glen Little's fate just after the hour.

Little had uncharacteristically let possession go cheaply on a handful of occasions and when stripped of the ball once more he produced a petulant and unnecessary foul.

Rightly he went into the book and, quite rightly, Little was removed just a minute later by boss Stan Ternent.

Brad Maylett took Little's place, joining Robbie Blake whose replacement of Ian Moore brought a chorus of jeers from the travelling fans. Maylett did pep things up a bit, but Blake struggled with poor service and only one moment from the £1million man caught the eye.

That came two minutes from time when Arthur Gnohere's astute ball forward afforded Blake the chance of a neat turn and pass that sent Alan Moore dashing away.

The left-winger then delivered a good cross but Graham Branch, playing up front having replaced Gareth Taylor on 77 minutes, could only send his header looping over the Rotherham crossbar.

As spectacles go this was one to forget, but that point could come in very handy when the finally reckoning comes.


Scorer: Robins (12 pen)


Scorer: Taylor (9 pen)

At Millmoor


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