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09:39 10th December 2009

Brewers Back on Track Against Millers

Burton Albion showed plenty of grit and determination as they came from two goals behind to earn a deserved draw at promotion chasing Rotherham United.

Trailing to two Adam Le Fondre strikes things turned in Albion's favour as Aaron Webster quickly got one back, Rotherham were reduced to ten men and Greg Pearson snatched a late equaliser.

After the disappointment of Tuesdays home defeat to Accrington Stanley, Paul Peschisolido made five changes in an attempt to kick Albion out of their three game losing run. With skipper Guy Branston serving a one match suspension for five yellow cards there was an opportunity for club captain Darren Stride to impress again in the centre of defence. New signing Richard Jackson, a former Derby County right back, went straight into the team at the expense of Aaron Brown and there was also a first League start of the campaign for winger Keith Gilroy on the right side of midfield. This resulted in Russell Penn moving into a central midfield role in place of Michael Simpson who had to wait for his 100th start in Albion colours.

There were also recalls for both Aaron Webster on the left wing and Greg Pearson in attack with Jimmy Phillips and Shaun Harrad dropping out of the starting eleven. In the absence of Branston, Stride was handed the skipper's armband for the first time in the Football League.

Albion's goal led a charmed life in the 55th minute. Tony James back header inadvertently set up Le Fondre whose lob crashed back off the crossbar. The ball fell kindly for Adam Rundle but Shane Redmond did well to stand up and keep out the follow-up.

Albion made a positive start and Greg Pearson set the tone with a run into the Rotherham area but his run was halted by a well timed challenge before he could get a shot in.

There was a moment of concern after five minutes when a clash of heads between Stride and Millers striker Tom Pope left both players needing attention but both players were okay to continue.

Rotherham had the division's leading goalscorer in attack in Adam Le Fondre and the former Rochdale hitman almost put the Millers ahead after ten minutes with a looping header than almost caught Shane Redmond too far off his line.

Albion's response was swift and they went close themselves with Kabba forcing a save from Warrington at his right hand post with a 20 yard shot and from Gilroy's second corner, after the first was blocked, Russ Penn fired narrowly over the bar.

The pressure was maintained when Penn won a corner and after Pearson miskicked inside the box Webster fed Kabba who saw another shot blocked.

Rotherham struggled for forward momentum attacking the more cut up end of the pitch and it was Albion again who went closest to breaking the deadlock with a speculative effort from 25 yards that hit the post supporting the net.

The hosts went close on 35 minutes but Shane Redmond did well to save at the feet of Le Fondre but as the ball broke loose, Adam Rundle fired the ball goalwards where Boertien blocked with load shouts for handball.

Rotherham kept up the pressure and were awarded a penalty for a handball by Boertien as Gary Roberts flighted the ball in. Le Fondre stepped up and fired home confidently to add to his already impressive tally of goals.

Albion started the second half brightly, Aaron Webster putting in a teasing cross that had to be cleared at the far post and Greg Pearson scuffing a shot into the arms of Andy Warrington.

Tony James back header inadvertently set up Le Fondre for a run on goal but his effort crashed back off the crossbar and a combination of Boertien and Redmond prevented Rundle doubling the Miller's advantage.

The Brewers goal conitnued to lead a charmed life as Le Fondre broke through again. The striker squared the ball to his partner Tom Pope who was denied by a sprawling Redmond save and when the ball came out to Gary Roberts his goalbound header was headed off the line by Stride.

The hosts sensed a second goal coming and Rundle was close again with a rising effort that cleared the crossbar in the 61st minute.

Stride went from hero to villain in the 62nd minute as the Miller's pressure told. Rundle's ball into the centre should have been cut out by the skipper but he let the ball go and allowed Le Fondre a simple finish beyond Redmond.

Albion responded within two minutes through Aaron Webster. A surging run from Greg Pearson took him to the bye line where he fired in a shot from an acute angle. The ball fell for Kabba who completely messed up his shot but Webster was on hand to calmly control, turn and smash home a close range shot.

The Brewers really should have been level moments later. John McGrath's well flighted free kick was flicked on and all Pearson had to do was nod the ball either side of the keeper but he only managed to head the ball straight into the grateful arms of Warrington.

Albion were handed the initiative with twenty minutes to go as the Millers were reduced to ten men. Webster tried to surge through the centre and he was upended by a late, high challenge from Nick Fenton that drew an immediate red card from referee Simon Hooper.

Keith Gilroy went close with a far post header in the 78th minute. A quickly taken corner caught the Rotherham defence half asleep and McGrath was able to pick out his team mate with the Irishman just unable to find the back of the net.

Albion deservedly got an equaliser with six minutes to go. Paul Boertien played a lovely ball in to substitute Shaun Harrad on the edge of the six yard box. The striker turned and fired a speculative ball across the area where Greg Pearson controlled before firing a low shot under Warrington into the back of the net.

    Data provided by Press Association


    Burton Albion moved into the £7million Pirelli Stadium in 2005