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12:07 29th December 2009

Walker Flavour of the Month for Brewers

Richard Walker's early goal was enough to give the Brewers victory and halt Rochdale's four game winning streak. Hard work all over the pitch from Burton ensured they kept Dale at bay as they were forced to defend for large parts of the game.

Walker's third minute strike gave the Brewers the lead at half-time. The Brewers had started brightly although Rochdale pressed hard before the break seeking to level.

John McGrath passed a late fitness test and retained his place in midfield. Elsewhere Peschisolido chose to bring in Jimmy Phillips for Robin Shroot and captain Guy Branston returned in place of Darren Stride.

Andy Corbett also came into the starting XI in place of Russell Penn.

Ryan Austin continues his run of starting every match this season and today celebrated his 200th Brewers appearance.

New signing Serge Makofo went straight onto the bench in place of the injured Shaun Harrad.

Burton scored with their first attack of the game. Three minutes in Greg Pearson controlled a long ball from Ryan Austin wide on the right. He crossed to Richard Walker who's deflected strike gave the Brewers a dream start.

And the Brewers continued to make the best of a good start with Walker, Pearson and McGrath combining well to put pressure on the Dale defence. Jimmy Phillips tested Rochdale keeper Kenny Arthur with a curling shot and Walker headed over from a free-kick.

Rochdale steadied themselves after Burton's early goal and looked to find a foothold in the game. Tony James and Guy Branston made a couple of important interceptions, with Michael Simpson tidy in midfield.

Some good build up play by Walker saw Corbett get a sight on goal but he appeared in two minds as his cross/shot sailed harmlessly wide.

Rochdale's first good chance to level came after 34 minutes. Will Buckley latched onto a through ball and tried to shoot across goal but Artur Krysiak got down smartly to his left making the save.

Chris O'Grady then had a shot deflected wide two minutes later. The resulting corner caused trouble in the Brewers' defence but the ball was eventually cleared away.

And Rochdale continued their purple match with another corner, superbly headed clear by Branston, with the following cross put out of play by Rochdale's Tom Kennedy.

Rochdale looked to end the half strongly, with the Brewers penned inside their own half. But Albion's defence held strong as they went in at the break with the lead.

Rochdale started the second half on the front and caused danger from a corner and then a free-kick from the right. Albion's defence continued to stand firm and deny the visitors an equaliser.

But it was Burton who had the next sight of goal. Phillips played in Pearson whose shot on the turn was saved by Kenny Arthur. Walker then tried to catch out the Dale keeper with an improvised chip that floated just over the bar.

Burton had their best chance since the early goal when McGrath was played into space inside the area. He picked out Pearson, who's shot was saved by Arthur, with the keeper smothering Walker's follow up effort. As the game opened up Rochdale had a chance on the counter, but the ball was soon back in the Brewer's possession as they threatened again.

As the hour mark passed Rochdale looked to increase the pressure on the Brewers. And the home support became frustrated as a number of decisions appeared to go the way of the visitors.

Krysiak made a good save at his near post after 67 minutes, but an excellent run from Ryan Austin put the Dale defence on the back foot and his cross was inches away from finding Pearson yards from goal.

Phillips then wriggled free in the area after 70 minutes but his shot was saved by Arthur, with the Rochdale defence mopping up any chance of a rebound attempt.

Peschisolido brought on new loan signing Serge Makofo in place of Pearson for the last ten minutes.

A strong run and cross by Scott Wiseman in the 89th minute worried the Brewers defence but Krysiak got up well to claim the ball.

Maghoma then broke forward and managed to get a shot away, with keeper Arthur making the save.

The Brewers had to endure a nervy four minutes extra time but they held on to claim the victory.

Albion man of the match: Guy Branston - the whole team takes credit for a first home clean sheet of the season but the skipper was a colossus at the heart of the defence.

    Data provided by Press Association


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