HALF-TIME: Bristol City 1, Burnley 1
In a bizarre twist, both sides suffered disruption before a ball had even been kicked in anger, each losing a man to injury during the warm-up. Stephen Pearson broke down and was replaced by veteran Jody Morris for the Robins, while Martin Paterson stood in for Ross Wallace on the right side of Burnley's midfield.
The enforced change appeared to affect the Robins more than the visitors and Burnley took advantage of hesitancy at the heart of City's defence to take an early lead.
Yet to keep a clean sheet in 11 previous Championship outings this term, the home side failed to deal with Jason Shackell's long pass out of defence and Chris McCann helped the ball on into the path of Austin, who showed centre-backs Liam Fontaine and Stephen McManus a clean pair of heels before displaying admirable composure to beat keeper Tom Heaton from 12 yards out.
City's defenders appealed for offside in vain as the former Swindon man, who appeared to have timed his run to perfection, celebrated his eighth goal in as many games.
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Stung into a response, the Robins summoned a brilliant equaliser eight minutes later. Brought down by Michael Duff in a central position just outside the penalty area, Steven Davies hauled himself off the turf to assume responsibility for the resultant free kick.
Clarets keeper Lee Grant scarcely had time to react before the former Derby's striker's sweet left-foot strike hit the back of the net to bring City level and Ashton Gate to life.
Full of confidence, Davies tried his luck from 35 yards just moments later, this time directing his powerfully-struck free kick narrowly off target.
Although City were now in the ascendancy, Austin posed a threat whenever Burnley countered and Paterson should have done better when meeting his deep centre with a close-range header that flew straight into the arms of a relieved Heaton.