The Brewers are still looking for back to back league victories this season after a miserable 4-1 defeat to Crewe Alexandra. Clayton Donaldson was the tormentor in chief with a hat-trick for the hosts as Albion conceded four goals for the third time in four games. Sam Winnall got a consolation goal late in the game but this is another worrying defeat for Albion in their attempts to clib away from the foot of the table.
Tony James was the only change to the side that beat Northampton Town on Tuesday evening. The thrilling 3-2 victory injected some much needed confidence into the Brewers on their travels but after a gritty second half performance held on for the three points Paul Peschisolido opted to bring back the fresh legs of James in place of club captain Darren Moore. That meant that Andy Corbett continued on the right side of midfield with Jacques Maghoma on the left with Russ Penn playing in the hole behind striker Greg Pearson. New signing Simon Whaley had to settle for beginning his Burton Albion career on the substitutes bench. Corbett, Adam Legzdins and Ryan Austin all lined up against their former side Full back Paul Boertien also played for the Railwaymen in a loan spell during his Derby County days. For the Alex, Lee Bell, in his second spell with the club, lined up against the Brewers for whom he had two spells during their Conference days.
After a promising opening Albion found themselves a goal down inside two minutes. Luke Murphy pumped the ball over the top for striker Clayton DONALDSON to run onto and when the offside flag stayed down the former York striker cut inside Ryan Austin and fired a low shot inside Legzdin's near post with the Albion stopper perhaps disappointed that he did not do better.
Albion responded well and Greg Pearson produced a smart stop from Taylor diving away to his left and Adam Bolder saw a long range effort tipped over the crossbar.
If all the luck went Albion's way on Tuesday at Northampton it was back out again as Shaun MILLER doubled the home side's lead in the seventh minute. Again the danger was from the right back area as Miller capitalised on a slip by Tony James to move towards the edge of the area and hit an angled shot that deflected off Andy Corbett past the outstretched hand of Legzdins and in off the post.
David Artell hoisted an overhead kick over the bar and there was then a delay as referee Colin Webster had to leave the pitch through injury. After a few minutes while the remaining officials sorted themselves out the game recommenced and it was the hosts who went close to extending their lead even further. A free kick from Artell was flicked on and Byron Moore turned Austin and fired a rising volley over the crossbar.
the game flowed from end to end and Greg Pearson did well in a battle with Danny Blanchett to get goal side of him and drive a low shot just wide of the far post.
Bad got even worse in the 27th minute for the Brewers. Ryan Austin was adjudged to have fouled Artell when another free kick got pumped into the penalty area and although Legzdins made a smart save to keep out DONALDSON'S spot kick the assistant ruled that the Albion keeper moved off his line and ordered a retake that the Crewe striker despatched more firmly.
Clearly unhappy with a disastrous first half, Paul Peschisolido made two changes with ten minutes of the half remaining. Simon Whaley was given a first appearance in Albion colours at the expense of Andy Corbett and Adam Bolder was sacrificed from midfield to allow Richard Walker to make a rare appearance. Russ Penn dropped back into the midfield to allow Walker to go and partner Pearson in attack.
If Albion were going to get anything out of the game they needed something before half time to give them a lifeline. Pearson thought he had done just that in added time when he latched onto Maghoma's pass to drive the ball home but an offside flag quickly ruled the effort out. The first half came to an end and the Brewers were glad to see the back of an eventful but ultimately disastrous forty five minutes.
Half time: Crewe Alexandra 3-0 Burton Albion
As in the first half the action flowed from end to end. One moment Nathan Stanton was making a superb last ditch challenge to deny Miller and within an instant Jacques Maghoma was forcing Taylor to dive full stretch to his left to claw away a goalbound shot.
Miller did get away from Stanton in the 55th minute but with the ball running away from him the lively striker failed to keep his effort down or on target.
Albion continued to plug away to salvage some pride and a scramble in the 63rd minute almost got them on the scoresheet. A teasing ball in from the right by Russ Penn bobbled up as Pearson was about to convert and the loose ball fell to Richard Walker who was denied by the keeper. the ball fell to McGrath who saw a left footed drive deflected into the side netting.
Crewe were playing well within themselves with a three goal cushion and invited Albion on to them. they had to rely on keeper Taylor to maintain their clean sheet when he dived bravely at the feet of Walker. Albion produced a neat passage of play and when the ball was lobbed in for Boertien stealing in behind the defence he headed back across goal and the Alex keeper dived low to stop Walker converting the chance.
Russ Penn went close to a goal in the 74th minute as Whaley continued to look lively on his debut. Arriving late at the back post the Brewers midfielder guided his effort back towards goal but Ashley Westwood was on hand to clear the danger at the expense of a corner.
With fifteen minutes to go skipper John McGrath was substituted to allow the introduction of Wolves youngster Sam Winnall. Whaley moved into the centre with Russ Penn moving to the right.
Winnall had an almost immediate impact winning possession down near the corner flag and pulling the ball back intelligently for Greg Pearson whose shot was deflected wide by a defender.
Legzdins came to Albion's rescue with a fine double save when Murphy tested him from the edge of the area and when the ball fell loose Donaldson was denied by the Albion keeper from inside the six yard box.
WINNALL was in the right place at the right time with six minutes left as he finally gave the Brewers fans something to cheer when he smashed the ball high into the roof the net at the far post when Paul Boertien's cross was flicked on by Pearson.
Donaldson was again denied by some desperate defending as the hosts tried to restore their three goal lead. The striker was not to be denied in stoppage time as Legzdins made a good save to deny substitute Ajay Leitch-Smith but the ball fell nicely for DONALDSON to poke home his third from close range.
CREWE: Taylor, Blanchett, A.Westwood, Artell, Ada, Donaldson, Murphy, Miller, Bell, Moore, Dugdale. Substitutes: Phillips, Grant, Shelley, Leitch-Smith,A.M.Westwood.
ALBION: Legzdins; Austin, James, Stanton, Boertien; CorbettWhaley, 35), Bolder (Walker, 35), McGrath, Maghoma; Penn; Pearson. Substitutes: Poole, Moore, Phillips, Young, Winnall.
Referee: Mr. C.Webster (Tyne & Wear)
GOALS: Crewe - Donaldson (2, 27 pen, 90+2), Miller (7); Albion - Winnall (84)
Attendance: 3,882 (467 away)