Kevin McDonald’s late equaliser stole a first away point for Burnley after a six-goal thriller at Eastlands.

The Clarets had led 2-0 after 32 minutes but City roared back to go 3-2 up after the break. But Mark Hughes’ team couldn’t find the goal to kill Burnley off and Owen Coyle’s brave soldiers fought back to nick a crucial leveller with just three minutes of normal time remaining.

The draw is City’s fifth in succession, signalling a downturn in form that sees them slip away from the top four.

Hughes recalled Stephen Ireland in place of Nigel De Jong but stubbornly kept faith with a failing 4-4-2 system spearheaded by the returning Emmanuel Adebayor. The hosts struggled for possession throughout the first half and before they had settled were trailing.

Tyrone Mears romped down the right flank and his cross was handled stupidly at head-height by Joleon Lescott. Referee Stuart Attwell had no choice but to point to the spot and Graham Alexander, fresh from his brace in last week’s 2-0 home win against Hull, crashed home the penalty low to Shay Given’s right for his fourth league goal of the season.

That unexpected goal gave Burnley a boost and they dominated the next passage of play, extending their lead just after the half hour. Some clever play from Robbie Blake found Chris Eagles in acres of space on the right flank and the former Manchester United man picked out Steven Fletcher at the back post with a superbly weighted pass for a simple tap-in.

But City found a lifeline moments before halftime as Shaun Wright-Phillips’ harmless shot deflected off Stephen Jordan and past the dive of Brian Jensen and Hughes team-talk set up his team for a much improved second half performance.

First they drew level when, from a soft free-kick award, Kolo Toure swept home after his defensive partner Lescott had nodded Barry’s centre across the area.

And then Craig Bellamy completed the comeback by firing into the bottom corner of Jensen’s goal from Wright-Phillips pull-back.

That goal looked like it would be enough for City to secure the spoils but in pressing for a fourth goal they left gaps at the back.

Substitute David Nugent had to head off his own line and both Adebayor and Carlos Tevez had chances to make the game safe before a classic break away nicked a point for Burnley.

Nugent crossed to the back post where Fletcher lurked and the Scot headed down for his compatriot McDonald to lift the ball calmly over Given from six yards to spark deranged scenes in the away end.

The point marks the end of a grim run of five straight defeats on the road for Coyle’s Clarets, who continue to bamboozle the critics with some fine attacking play and stout defending when it counts.

For all their money and attacking talent, City weren’t able to kill the game off when the opportunity presented itself, and defensive errors from Toure and Lescott will worry Hughes, who must surely return to the 4-3-3 that City exploited so well at the start of the season.

This report was written for FansOnline Burnley.