Micah Richards admitted his deep disappointment despite conjuring a goal to remember in the 1-1 draw with Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.
City's England defender fired the Blues ahead in style only for Matthew Etherington to snatch an equaliser in time added on to prevent a second successive away win for Roberto Mancini's men.
Richards said: "I thought we defended well, so to concede in the last few minutes was devastating. We knew we'd face a lot of balls in the air and we dealt with them.
"We dug in deep in a hard fixture, but we knew it was going to be tough. Liverpool and United found it hard coming here as well. Stoke created a lot of chances and had one cleared off the line.
We were disappointed in the end but Stoke defended well themselves, and it was probably a fair result
Micah, who had not scored since January, smiled: "A few of the boys have been saying I should learn to shoot and show a bit of creativity. I'll be watching that one again tonight on TV!"
Richards expects City to remain in the hunt despite dropping points. He said: "It's going to be really tight at the top. It's now a top five or six up there. It's getting harder every year but I'm sure we'll be alright.
"I don't know what the panic was about. We're right up there and we are all happy with the way it is going."
Manager Mancini said: "We deserved to win and I'm disappointed for the guys because they played very well. We tried to play football on a difficult pitch and we deseved to win 2-0.
"I'm happy with Balotelli, he worked hard for the team, and I'm happy for Micah, he scored a fantastic goal.
"We are disappointed to concede so late, because we played some fantastic football in the second half. But if we continue to play like we did at Fulham and today, we will win a lot of games."