Ten-man West Brom spurned several gilt-edged chances in a goalless draw against Burnley as the Baggies missed the chance to boost their survival prospects at a blustery Turf Moor.
Mike Dean, refereeing his first match since asking for a break after receiving death threats on social media, gave Semi Ajayi his marching orders in the first half after the defender’s handball denied Matej Vydra from going clean through.
Despite being a man down for the remaining hour the relegation-threatened visitors had the clearer chances after the interval, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mbaye Diagne and Matheus Pereira all going close.
Diagne struck the top of the crossbar from close range and Pereira’s effort was blocked on the line by James Tarkowski, with the stalemate leaving West Brom 11 points adrift of safety.
Burnley, who welcomed back Ben Mee after concussion protocols, were unable to break down opponents who have by far the worst defensive record in the top flight this season, and only managed one shot on target.
They had strong claims for a penalty when Kyle Bartley appeared to handle in the area but Dean waved away Burnley’s pleas on an afternoon when the difficult conditions made life tough for both sides.
It was the away side who showed more endeavour early on, with Maitland-Niles and Pereira both lively. Darnell Furlong curled wide having cut on to his left foot, as did Pereira, who moments later forced Nick Pope into a low save after Maitland-Niles had dispossessed Ashley Westwood in a dangerous position.
Just as it seemed West Brom were starting to find some fluency, they were reduced to 10 men on the half-hour, with Dean’s hopes of an inconspicuous outing dashed as Ajayi was dismissed for denying a clear goalscoring chance.
That was Dean’s view after a check with the video assistant referee, having initially been unmoved by the home side’s loud appeals for handball when Conor Gallagher’s loose backpass was intercepted by Vydra, whose first touch on halfway caused the ball to brush the right arm of Ajayi, preventing the striker from going through on goal.
Sam Allardyce withdrew Matt Phillips and sent on Dara O’Shea in an attempt to shore up his backline, which was able to keep Burnley at bay for the remainder of half, but there was more drama to follow shortly after the interval.
O’Shea’s header back to Bartley in West Brom’s area seemed to come off the visiting captain’s outstretched right arm, but Dean once again waved away Burnley protests and this time saw no need to consult a replay.
Okay Yokuslu came close to unknowingly deflecting Westwood’s cross into his own goal, while at the other end the dangerous Pereira let fly from the edge of the area, narrowly missing Pope’s right-hand post. By this point West Brom had adjusted to their one-man deficit and twice came close to breaking the deadlock, with Maitland-Niles first blazing over after cutting on to his right foot and finding some space in the area.
Diagne then created for himself the game’s best chance when he surged forward on the inside right and went past Tarkowski but clattered the top of the crossbar with his effort from six yards out.
Burnley were caught out once again when Maitland-Niles worked his way into the box. His square pass was behind Pereira, who collected the ball and unleashed a shot, only for Tarkowski to get his body in the way on the line.