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23:06 5th April 2011

Burton Albion 1-1 Northampton Town

Aaron Webster's twelfth goal of the season secured a valuable point to help Albion move three points clear of the bottom two places in League 2 in a 1-1 draw with Garry Johnson's Northampton Town. The draw extended the visitors winless run to 14 games and still leaves both teams in danger at the wrong end of League 2 but there can be a lot of positives from the performance given the wretched performance at the weekend. Webster's valuable equaliser came just four minutes after the Cobblers had snatched the lead in a free flowing game through former Swansea and Hereford striker Guillem Bauza.

After the miserable defeat to strugglers Barnet on Saturday there were inevitably changes to the side for the visit of fellow strugglers Northampton Town. Scott Malone was recalled to the left back slot and there was a double change at centre half. With Ryan Austin ruled out for the season with a hand injury and Nathan Stanton suffering a recurrence of his groin injury, Darren Moore and Tom Parkes resumed their partnership at the back. Adam Bolder and Jacques Maghoma were given a much needed rest with Russ Penn reestored alongside John McGrath in the 4-2-3-1 formation and Jimmy Phillips recalled on the right of the attacking trio with Aaron Webster central and Sam Winnall dropping into the right hand side role and Calvin Zola playing as the lone frontman.

The game started at a frenetic pace with Albion snapping into challenges right from the kick off, Skipper John McGrath setting the tone with a tackle to win the ball right from the kick off. Former Brewer Shaun Harrad provided the first moment of danger with a low cross in from the right that Andy Corbett got across to clear and shortly after the ex-Albion striker was in the middle to try and get onto Liam Davis' cross but the ball was just behind him as he tried an ambitious volley from 12 yards out.

Dean Beckwith picked up the first booking of the match for a challenge on Scott Malone down the Albion left as the game began to settle down.

Albion's first clear sight of goal came in the 16th minute but when Sam Winnall latched onto Zola's lay-off his shot curled away from goal off the outside of his foot.

Harrad tested out Legzdins in the 19th minute with an angled drive from the edge of the area but Albion's keeper got enough of a hand on it to push it wide of the far post.

Calvin Zola found himself in the referee's book for frustratingly handling a Jimmy Phillips cross that was just too high for him to get his head onto.

Winnall again showed his strikers instincts in the 30th minute in another promising link-up with Zola. The Wolves man picked up the ball from Zola's lay-off and always looking for the shooting opportunity finally worked the chance for a shot that flashed not that far wide of the target.

Harrad also fancied his chances in the 35th minute when he picked up a crossfield pass and ran from the halfway line to the edge of the Burton penalty area but his eventual shot was tamely into the arms of Legzdins.

Winnall was even closer with his next effort in the 36th minute. Good work by Malone, Phillips and McGrath created a chance for Winnall to cut inside and fire in a low shot that was saved by the outstretched leg of keeper Chris Dunn.

Albion though were undone in the 39th minute through Spanish striker Guillem BAUZA. A neat backheel by the former Swansea striker found Josh Walker and his return pass allowed the striker to burst into the area and hold off a couple of challenges before nicking the ball past Legzdins.

Albion took just four minutes to respond as Northampton failed to deal with a Winnal free kick. The Wolves man put a hopeful ball into the box with Tom Parkes getting something on the ball which helped it fall into space for Aaron WEBSTER. The long serving Albion man was not going to miss and stroked the ball into the net past an exposed Dunn.

Half time: Burton Albion 1-1 Northampton Town

Paul Peschisolido opted to introduce Jacques Maghoma for the second half in place of Jimmy Phillips and the former Tottenham trainee was quickly making an impression getting the better of Beckwith down the Albion left and putting in a teasing cross that Dunn flapped at and which dropped just beyond the far post with Byron Webster having to clear hastily to avert the danger.

The game continued at a frantic pace with both sides looking uneasy at the back, not surprising given their current league positions and whenever either side threatened to break forward it was nearly always towards a packed defence with long balls becoming the norm to try and break the deadlock from the first half.

Sam Winnall took a whack to the face that left him needing treatment and a change of shirt but he was quickly back on his feet and making driving runs at the Northampton defence although on occasions his desire to score may have been better served with passes to a team mate, once stumbling to the ground after trying to burst through the middle and then seeing a shot blocked from the edge of the area after a run from deep with Calvin Zola also up in a two on two situation.

Too many of Albion's crosses were just lacking that extra bit of quality with Byron Webster heading clear on numerous occasions as Albion tried to pump balls into the eighteen yard area to try and create opportunities.

John McGrath tried to recreate his stunning goal at Sixfields earlier in the season with an angled effort from just outside the area in the 73rd minute but even with Dunn scrambling across his goal the ball landed just wide of the far post.

Northampton made a double change with the experienced Leon McKenzie replacing goalscorer Bauza and midfielder Abdul Osman given the chance to replace Nathaniel Wedderburn with eleven minutes to play.

There were nervous moments for the Brewers when Darren Moore was adjudged to have fouled Harrad just outside the box but, desperate to score against his former employers, the ex-Brewer smashed his free kick into the defensive wall with Josh Walker lashing the rebound well wide of the target. Harrad though was close to grabbing what would have proved to be the winner when he picked up a loose ball moments later and crashed a curling effort against the angle of post and crossbar, the ball bouncing away to safety much to the relief of the Brewers defence.

Jamie Rekord found himself in referee Drysdale's book for a poor challenge on Russ Penn and it was Albion's turn to go close moments later when Zola turned on the edge of the box onto a loose ball but his low shot was just wide of the left hand upright.

McKenzie had barely been on the pitch five minutes when he found himself in the book for also fouling Penn as he tried to burst forwards.

As time began to run out Albion had one more clerar opportunity to grab the three points but when Maghoma found Malone in space inside the penalty area, the young full back opted to shoot from a narrow angle, putting his effort over the angle of post and bar when Webster was well placed for a possible tap-in in the centre of the goal.

In stoppage time it was all Albion as Webster was upended right on the edge of box as he was about to shoot but the visitors defensive wall held firm as Winnall smashed the ball goalwards and the Northampton defence had to survive more set pieces in added on time with Albion failing to break down the Cobblers rearguard to find the much desired winner.

ALBION: Legzdins; Corbett, Moore, Parkes, Malone; Penn, McGrath; Winnall, Webster, Phillips (Maghoma, 46); Zola. Substitutes: Poole, James, Pearson, Preen, Dyer, Bolder.

NORTHAMPTON: Dunn, Ofori-Twumasi, Webster, Beckwith, Hall; Reckord (Thornton, 87), Walker, Wedderburn (Osman, 79), Davis; Harrad, Bauza (McKenzie, 79). Substitutes: Collis, Rodgers, Laurent, Built.

Referee: Mr. D.Drysdale (Lincolnshire)

GOALS: Albion - Webster (43); Northampton - Bauza (39)

    Data provided by Press Association


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