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18:27 25th April 2011

Burton Albion 3-3 Torquay United

A six goal thriller at the Pirelli Stadium saw Albion inch another point closer to League 2 safety as the majority of the sides around them in the relegation dogfight also drew leaving the Brewers four points clear of danger but now with just two games remaining. Barnet now effectively have to win their last two fixtures to overhaul the Brewers although other sides have now been dragged into the fight to stay up. It was a dramatic way for Paul Peschisolido to rack up his 100th game in charge of the Brewers and it also marked the first draw between the two sides at the ninth attempt.

After a promising start to the game Albion found themselves 2-0 down after a quarter of an hour but skipper John McGrath got the fightback underway, atoning for an error that allowed Chris Zebroski to open the scoring for visitors Torquay United. The skipper curled a sublime effort into the top corner in the 26th minute and Greg Pearson showed his predatory instincts to poach an equaliser just before half time.

A dramatic comeback seemed to be complete when Calvin Zola headed home Russell Penn's cross early in the second half but a stunning effort from substitute Billy Kee ensured a share of the spoils for the promotion chasing Gulls.

Scott Malone was the only change to the starting line-up following Saturday's crucial victory over Aldershot Town. The on loan Wolves defender was brought back in on the left side of midfield in place of Jimmy Phillips who dropped to the bench. Fellow Wolves loan man Sam WInnall could only make the bench after returning from his three match suspension picked up for his red card at Bury.

Malone looked lively early on causing problems for Torquay right back Lee Mansell with some surging runs looking for a quality cross. The Wolves man almost grabbed his first goal for the Brewers in the ninth minute when from a central position he let fly with a shot that flew across goal and not that far wide of Scott Bevan's left hand post.

A minute later and Albion found themselves behind. John McGrath took control of a ball that was bobbling dangerously inside the Burton penalty area but fatally tried to dribble across his own six yard box before clearing and allowing Chris ZEBROSKI to nip in and poke the ball over the line before McGrath of keeper Adam Legzdins could react.

Things got worse for the nervous Brewers three minutes later as Eunan O'Kane worked room for a cross from the Torquay right and Gavin TOMLIN was unmarked in the centre of the penalty to give Legzdins no chance and double the visitors lead.

Stunned, Burton tried to get themselves back in the game. Not so long ago during Albion's horrendous backlog of fixtures it is questionable whether the Brewers would have come back from an early two goal deficit but on the back of a three match unbeaten run and with confidence of avoiding the drop rising Paul Peschisolido's men set about their task with relish. With Zola and Pearson unsettling the visiting defence there was always hope for Albion but when it came it was from a sllightly unexpected source.

John MCGRATH picked up the ball in the middle of the pitch and with Torquay players failling to close down the skipper he set his sights and curled a superb left foot shot beyond the outstretched hand of Bevan and into the top corner to give Albion hope.

Torquay tried to up the tempo and Tomlin curled an effort over the bar in the 39th minute after a good cross from Craig Stanley picked out the on loan Dagenham man.

With four minutes to go in the first half it was the Brewers celebrating as they grabbed a vital equaliser. Jacques Maghoma played an early ball in from the left and it looked as if the chance had gone when Calvin Zola failed to connect with the ball but PEARSON did not give up on it and stole in at the far post to get in front of his man and steer the ball home as Bevan hesitated inside his six yard box.

Half time: Burton Albion 2-2 Torquay United

Neither side was going to settle for the draw with the Brewers desperate to move further from the relegation places and Torquay attempting to cement a place in the play-offs. Stanley tried his luck with a curling effort from just outside the box in the 54th minute but Legzdins was able to watch it go wide of his right hand upright.

Albion's amazing turnaround looked complete in the 56th minute as the Brewers went in front for the first time. The Brewers made headway down the right and when Russ Penn cut back inside onto his weaker left foot he picked out a pinpoint cross for Calvin ZOLA to rise between the two Torquay centre halves and crash in a header for his second goal in as many games.

Torquay sent on former Accrington striker Billy Kee and shortly afterwards the hardworking Pearson was replaced in Albion's attack by Sam Winnall.

Winnall had only been on the pitch four minutes when he had a chance to extend Albion's lead. Malone teased and tormented the defence yet again and when he pulled the ball back across the six yard box it looked as if Winnall had a tap in but the ball was just behind him and he was unable to adjust his position and convert the chance.

It was KEE who had the bigger impact in the 73rd minute as the ball pinged about on the edge of the area and he instinctively fired an angled effort through a crowded penalty area and into the back of the net to get Torquay level again.

Winnall was close with a free kick from 25 yards with thirteen to play as former Albion defender Guy Branston picked up a yellow card. The former Brewers man halted the run of Winnall as he threatened to burst through but while sections of the crowd bayed for a red card referee David Webb correctly chose to only book the Gulls defender. Bevan made sure that the foul was not punished further with a good save diving to his right to keep out Winnall's shot.

Jacques Maghoma tried to grab a winner with five minutes to go but Bevan was able to make a comfortable save and Albion heads were in their hands in the final minute as Aaron Webster was agonisingly close to grabbing a dramatic winner. John McGrath's corner was flicked on by Darren Moore and the usually lethal left footer had to drag the ball from behind him and get his shot away but he failed to get enough curl on it and it flew just wide of the post.

Five minutes of stoppage time failed to seperate the two sides although Torquay's Stanley was denied by the final whistle as referee Webb blew just as the ball went into Albion's penalty area where everybody stopped as the midfielder fired into the back of the net in vain.

ALBION: Legzdins; Corbett, James, Moore, Webster; Maghoma, Penn, McGrath, Malone (Phillips, 85); Pearson (Winnall, 64). Zola. Substitutes: Poole, Walker, Preen, Dyer, Parkes.

TORQUAY: Bevan, Nicholson (Rowe-Turner, 68), Robertson, Stanley, Mansell, Robinson (Stevens, 85), O'Kane, Tomlin, Oastler (Kee, 61), Branston, Zebroski. Substitutes: Elllis, Potter, Halpin, Lathrope.

Referee: Mr. D.Webb (County Durham)

GOALS: ALBION: McGrath (26), Pearson (41), Zola (56); TORQUAY: Zebroski (10), Tomlin (13), Kee (73)

    Data provided by Press Association


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