Relegation-threatened Burnley dealt West Ham a frustrating blow in their pursuit of a Champions League spot by battling to earn a point in a scrappy affair at Turf Moor.
The home side, who have won just once in the Premier League this season, had moments of promise but their point owed much to the resistance offered by central defenders Ben Mee and James Tarkowski as they stood up to a stream of West Ham deliveries from wide areas.
Sean Dyche’s side saw Chris Wood head over when well placed in the opening minutes while headers from Issa Diop and Said Benrahma drew fine saves from Burnley keeper Nick Pope either side of half-time.
West Ham had strong claims for a penalty in the opening period when Dwight McNeil caught Craig Dawson in the box and manager David Moyes may feel aggrieved.
Burnley, to their credit, failed to give the visitors a clear opening of any sort and time and again well-placed defenders intervened.
Jay Rodriguez was inches away from tapping in a late winner for Burnley who now sit 18th – two points adrift of Watford – and have drawn seven of their past 10 league games. Their grit is obvious, while fourth-placed West Ham may need to find a touch more craft in the final third if they are to maintain their position.
Final ball evades ambitious Hammers
Hammers fans may wonder how a haul of 16 shots and 14 corners was not enough to deliver a winner but only three of their attempts found the target and Pope – who like his central defenders was excellent – dealt with them all.
He turned a Jarrod Bowen effort around the post in the dying minutes and West Ham were ultimately unable to equal their club record of nine wins in their first 16 games of a top-flight season.
But their pressure and impetus point to the unquestionable improvements they have made in recent months. Declan Rice impressed again and seemed intent on driving his side forward to a win, while Bowen, Benrahma and Manuel Lanzini buzzed around central striker Michail Antonio and linked neatly.
Moyes will likely know a composed final ball was all that evaded his side, who attempted 32 crosses on the day. Burnley left-back Taylor cleared from three yards out when Antonio looked set to tap in an Arthur Masuaku cross in the second half and Tarkowski also made a crucial intervention from a drilled Rice delivery.
Moyes has spoken about bolstering an injury-hit defence or his striking options in the January transfer window. But his patched-up back-line was solid here and while he may feel they deserved more, his side approach the busy Christmas period with 28 points, five more than they had after 16 games last season.
Burnley, by contrast, are five points worse off than they were after the same number of games last season.
Dyche has been calm over their position and holds faith in their Premier League experience shining through to deliver wins, with striker Wood saying the squad has “inner belief” earlier in the week.
Despite being 18th, they have conceded fewer goals than Manchester United and Arsenal but it is at the other end where shortcomings are currently on show.
Rodriguez could have been a late hero, only for Charlie Taylor’s fine low cross to roll agonisingly across goal.