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09:51 10th December 2009

No Cup Cheer For Brewers

Albion bowed out of this season's FA Cup sponsored by E.On but they made their hosts Gillingham work mighty hard for their place in the third round.

Former Swindon and Leeds midfielder Curtis Weston was the man to send the Gill's into tomorrow afternoon's third round draw with the only goal of the game in the 69th minute.

The midfielder wrongfooted Shane Redmond to coolly slot home from 15 yards and it was hard luck on Albion who had frustrated their League One hosts up until that point.

New signing Steve Kabba went straight into the Burton Albion line-up for his debut at the Priestfield Stadium. He was the only outfield change from the defeat at Crewe although there was a change of formation. With Russell Penn withdrawn into a more orthodox midfield role alongside Michael Simpson and John McGrath it was left for Shaun Harrad and Kieron Cadogan in the wide positions to provide support for Kabba.

Artur Krysiak's hip injury gave Republic of Irelands under -21 international Shane Redmond his first opportunity in goal since the opening day of the season. The Nottingham Forest stopper was given another chance to impress after seeming to have put his first day nightmare behind him with some good performances in the reserves and on international duty.

A slip by Branston inside the first minute allowed on loan Manchester United forward Febian Brandy to make a run to the edge of the box but his final shot lacked precision.

Redmond was quickly into action with two fine saves in the opening three minutes. Leading scorer Simeon Jackson tried his luck as Albion backed off and then Stuart Lewis forced another good stop from the on-loan keeper.

An already nervous defence opened up far too easily in the tenth minute as Curtis Weston broke from the halfway line. The midfielder was allowed to run right into the penalty area before passing to Jackson. The Canadian international looked all set to score until a superb challenge from Ryan Austin swept the ball off his toe.

Albion were dealt a blow moments later as Austin, the only player to play every minute of every game, was forced off injured. The full back made a surging run into the Gills half but stayed down after his run was halted. Unable to continue he was stretchered off and replaced by Aaron Brown who spent time at Gillingham on trial during the summer.

Albion had muted shouts for a penalty in the 18th minute. Webster's ball in from the left was aimed towards Kabba and there were hints that the striker got a shove in the back but referee Trevor Kettle was not interested.

Skipper Guy Branston incurred the wrath of the home fans with a full blooded challenge on home skipper Barry Fuller earning himself a lecture from the referee but he was almost Albion's hero moments later heading a Michael Simpson corner wide of the post.

Russell Penn found himself in referee Kettle's book in the 33rd minute for a rash challenge ob Fuller, only just recovered from his altercation with Branston. The Albion skipper was carded in the 36th minute for a clumsy challenge on Brandy.

Albion's best chance of the half came in stoppage time. Aaron Brown was fouled right on the edge of the box and the substitute was close to turning in John McGrath's clever free kick inside the six yard box before flicking the loose ball on again for Kabba to see a shot blocked.

Gillingham began the second half kicking towards their favoured Rainham End and some early corners had Albion under pressure but after soaking up that pressure the Brewers wasted a glorious chance to sneak into the lead. Russell Penn led the breakaway but with Kabba unmarked to his right chose to cut inside and fire wastefully over the bar.

The Gills response was to go close themselves. Jackson seemed to have got goalside of Branston but Webster recovered and got in a challenge. The ball broke to Brandy who had his head in his hands as Redmond produced a fine block with his legs.

Albion made their second substitution in the 66th minute with the introduction of Serge Makofo down the left in a straight swap for Kieron Cadogan.

The Gills were becoming increasingly frustrated and made a double change in the 69th minute with former Grays players Dennis Oli and John Nutter introduced.

Within moments of them coming on Gillingham went ahead although neither were involved in the goal. A throw in down the left was missed by Brown and allowed Curtis Weston to burst forward and slide a shot past the wrong footed Redmond.

Oli could have made it two with just over fifteen minutes to go but his fifteen yard shot was deflected wide by Michael Simpson's challenge.

The introduction of Pearson for Harrad was Paul Peschisolido's last throw of the dice as he pushed up to support Kabba.

Jackson threatened to double the hosts lead in the 84th minute. A high hanging ball left him battling with Tony James and some neat skill brought him a chance from a tight angle but his shot flashed just wide of Redmond's far post.

Albion raised themselves for one last effort and despite a fairly quiet afternoon in the Gills goal, Simon Royce had to show good handling to cling onto Brown's driven cross with Kabba waiting to pounce on any slip.

    Data provided by Press Association


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