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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
18:00 28th December 2014

Manchester City 2 Burnley 2

Brilliant Burnley ended Manchester City’s hopes of a record-breaking 10th straight win in a sensational second half comeback at The Etihad.

The Clarets looked down and out at half time after title-chasing City, with goals from David Silva and Fernandinho, looked set to close the gap on leaders Chelsea to a point.

But Sean Dyche’s never-say-die side staged a fabulous fightback, with George Boyd stabbing home two minutes after the break and Ashley Barnes rifling home a stunning 81st minute equaliser.

barnes team slide

It all evoked memories of the last Premier League visit to City, where the Clarets scored late to earn a 3-3 draw.

And the point ended a fabulous 2014 on a high for the Clarets, who now go into the New Year with renewed belief.

Dyche named an unchanged side for the fifth successive game.

There were, however, two changes to the bench, with Marvin Sordell and Nathaniel Chalobah replacing Steven Reid and Sam Vokes, who was rested following the adrenaline rush of his return two days earlier following eight-and-a-half months out.

The task before them was stark; to stop City winning a 10th successive game for the first time in their long history.

There was an early scare when Silva’s corner fell to Martin Demichelis, but his shot on target struck Jason Shackell.

Barnes header

And in the 14th minute, City cut through Burnley as Navas raced onto a ball in behind Ben Mee and crossed low to the near post, where the inrushing James Milner fired over on the half-volley.

But Burnley were again setting out their stall, with Danny Ings and Barnes forming a tireless two-pronged strike force.

And just after the quarter hour mark, Barnes was inches away from getting a stud onto Kieran Trippier’s wonderful cross after some delightful approach play.

Moments later, Dean Marney stung the gloves of Joe Hart after Ings and George Boyd combined on the edge of the City box.

But City ended Burnley’s good spell in devastating fashion midway through the half to take the lead.

Navas picked out Silva with a cut-back from the by-line and the Spaniard spun and drilled home from 12 yards via a deflection off Shackell’s legs.

And the Clarets had a mountain to climb just after the half hour when Fernandinho took aim from the edge of the ‘D’ and magnificently found the top corner off the underside of the crossbar.

Navas was soon denied by Heaton as rampant City went for the jugular before the break.

However within two minutes of the restart the Clarets halved the deficit.

Barnes, impressive throughout, chested the ball off to Ings, whose angled shot appeared to be turned under Joe Hart by Boyd, who replays suggested had just strayed offside.

Boyd cele

It mattered not, as the Clarets suddenly had a lifeline – and in the 53rd minute only Ings’ control let him down as City cleared their lines after Barnes sent his strike-partner clear on goal

Heaton kept the game in the melting pot with a fabulous sprawling, full-length save to deny Nasri.

And as the game came alive, the hour mark almost brought the equaliser as Trippier swung a free kick deep to the far post, where Shackell headed narrowly over.

Seconds later, more brilliant hold up play from Barnes teed-up Ings for a curling effort that had Joe Hart worried, but arced just wide.

The home crowd were now voicing their frustrations as Burnley went in search of a leveller.

And it took City until midway through the half to recover their composure in the face of a growing threat.

Frank Lampard was introduced for the 600th league appearance of a glittering career with 15 minutes remaining to try and wrestle back the initiative.

But before he could have a touch, the Clarets were level!

Zabaleta was booked for a foul on the half way line on Shackell - and from the resulting free kick deep into the City box, the ball dropped off Michael Keane into the path of Barnes, who rifled the ball into the top corner and wheeled away in delight.

Barnes Ings celeb

Now Burnley felt they could go on and win it!

But as the clock ticked down, the Clarets were content to hold onto their precious point – gained in the most unlikeliest and incredible fashion.

Believe!

BURNLEY: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Keane, Mee, Arfield, Jones, Marney, Boyd, Barnes, Ings.
Subs: Gilks, Wallace, Jutkiewicz, Sordell, Long, Kightly, Chalobah


Booked: Mee 71

CITY: Hart, Demichelis, Kolarov, Mangala, Zabaleta, Milner (Jovetic 62), Silva, Fernandinho (Sinclair 88), Fernando, Navas, Nasri (Lampard 75)
Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Clichy, Boyata

Booked: Fernando 42, Navas 79, Zabaleta 81, Silva 89

REF: K Friend