Burnley avoided an FA Cup upset with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over League One MK Dons at Turf Moor.
The Dons led through Cameron Jerome’s 29th-minute header and looked set to beat a Premier League team in the competition for just the second time but Burnley substitute Matej Vydra grabbed an equaliser in the final minute of injury time to make it 1-1.
Dons manager Russell Martin was then sent to the stands and two periods of extra-time did not yield a goal.
Vydra saw his opening spot-kick saved by the excellent Lee Nicholls but Burnley’s debutant keeper Will Norris proved the hero with stops from Lasse Sorensen and Ben Gladwin before Phil Bardsley rolled in the winning penalty.
It meant a winning start to Burnley’s new era following their takeover by American investors ALK Capital, although new chairman Alan Pace was forced to watch the match from home after a member of his household tested positive for coronavirus.
The home side’s squad have also been hit by Covid this week and goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell was a notable absentee, meaning a chance for summer signing Norris. Jack Cork made his first appearance of the season after ankle surgery and Johann Berg Gudmundsson also returned in what was a strong Burnley side.
Nicholls was among three changes made by the 16th-placed Dons, who went into the match on the back of two wins after beginning to find their stride.
Nicholls was immediately into the action, tipping over Chris Wood’s header inside 30 seconds, and the Dons keeper was the difference in the first quarter of an hour. Ashley Barnes had the freedom of Turf Moor but his lack of confidence after only one goal this season was clear as he tried to go around Nicholls and the keeper pushed the ball away.
The best save of the lot came in the 16th minute from a well-struck Barnes volley.
Jerome had the first sight of goal at the other end only to be denied by a James Tarkowski block, but he produced a fine header for the opening goal after Scott Fraser had flicked on Stephen Walker’s cross.
Burnley should have responded immediately but, with the goal gaping, Tarkowski could only first slice the ball into the air and then poke it against a post from a yard out.
The hosts appeared to have been given a big advantage on the stroke of half-time when Richard Keogh blocked a long ball with his arm as Wood ran in behind and referee Jon Moss showed a red card. But a lengthy second look on the pitchside monitor persuaded Moss that Wood had fouled Keogh and the card was rescinded.
The visitors had the first big chance of the second half, Walker breaking in behind and firing in a shot from a tight angle that was blocked.
Burnley kept probing as the snow began to fall but without showing enough quality in the final third. Robbie Brady had two chances, first volleying over and then being denied by another strong save from Nicholls, while speedy debutant Joel Mumbongo broke through but the keeper again kept him out.
That looked set to be that but, with four minutes of injury time nearly up, Fraser was adjudged to have fouled Bardsley and, from the free-kick, Vydra fired in a close-range equaliser.
Martin earned a red card that did stick, presumably for his protests, and headed off in the direction of the changing room.
Gladwin came agonisingly close to restoring the Dons’ lead with a long-range effort that smacked against a post in the opening period of extra time. Dale Stephens should have found the net for Burnley but side-footed wide from what proved to be the final chance to avoid penalties.