Birmingham City 3 Burnley 3 match report: Federico Macheda double checks Burnley's charge to the Championship title

Blues come from behind three times to hold visitors, but result marred by claims referee mocked home side's captain over scoreline earlier in the match

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The Independent Football

Birmingham manager Lee Clark is to file a complaint over behaviour he described as “unacceptable” from referee James Linington after an incident involving his captain, Paul Robinson, midway through the second half of a thrilling match in which Clark's team came from behind three times to deny second-placed Burnley a win that would have put them 10 points clear of their nearest pursuer in the Championship promotion race.

Clark claims the Isle of Wight official taunted Robinson over the scoreline after Burnley's Michael Duff headed in from a disputed free kick to give Sean Dyche's team a 2-1 lead.

“Before their second goal, the referee gave a free kick against Paul when I thought Danny Ings fouled Paul,” Clark said.

“After the goal went in, Paul remonstrated with him and he gave Paul a yellow card and then basically told him the scoreline and had a little smile at him.

“I know this because Paul came across and told me.

“When my skipper is fighting way he does, the fans are turning up to watch us and I'm working hard as I am to keep us in the league and you get mocked, it is unacceptable.  I can accept errors but I'm not accepting officials mocking my players.”

The incident overshadowed a terrific contest in which Burnley stretched their unbeaten run in the Championship to 13 matches.

Dean Marney had given Burnley the lead in a relatively uneventful first-half lead before the match burst into life after half-time with three goals in the space of five minutes.

Substitute Federico Macheda equalised for the home side, Duff restored Burnley's advantage and then Emyr Huws, the 20-year-old Wales international on loan from Manchester City, put Birmingham back in the game with a spectacular volley from 20 yards.

Sam Vokes grabbed what looked like a winner for Burnley after 85 minutes, diverting home a low cross for his 20th goal of the season, but on-loan Manchester United striker Macheda scored his second four minutes into stoppage time to secure a point Birmingham's brave efforts certainly deserved, even though Burnley felt the ball came off the Italian's upper arm rather than his chest when he forced home Lee Novak's flick.

Birmingham City (4-3-3): Randolph; Spector, Packwood, Robinson, Blackett; Adeyemi, Lee (Macheda, 60), Huws; Burke, Novak, Shinnie (Zigic, 79). Substitutes not used Doyle (gk), Martin, Ibe, Caddis, Rusnak.

Burnley (4-4-2): Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee; Wallace (Stanislas, 62), Marney, Jones, Arfield (Edgar, 90); Vokes, Ings (Barnes, 75). Substitutes not used Cisak (gk). Kightly, Treacy, Long.

Referee J Linington (Isle of Wight).