Burton Albion were six minutes away from getting their home campaign off to a winning start as Shrewsbury Town finished a late comeback with an equaliser from new signing Terry Gornell, cancelling out Calvin Zola's thirteenth minute opener. Both sides went through energy sapping Carling Cup games in the week but there was no sign of that as the two sides put on a great spectacle for the first home match at the Pirelli Stadium this season.
Brewers boss Paul Peschisolido made just one change to the side that put up a great fight at Burnley on Tuesday night. Central defender Tom Parkes was restored to the back line in place of Nathan Stanton, missing with a knee problem.
Both sides had early chances with Shrewsbury almost being gifted a goal in the opening seconds as Lionel Ainsworth's cross was headed on by Marvin Morgan looping over Ross Atkins who got back to pick up the ball before it got to his goal line.
Albion won an early corner and although Chris Palmer's delivery at first looked disappointing the ball came invitingly for Cleveland Taylor who fired too high. Shrewsbury quickly crafted another chance with Ainsworth drilling an effort across goal and wide of the post.
A breathless opening was crowned in the thirteenth minute as Albion hit the Shrews on the counter-attack to devastating effect. Collins and Ainsworth attacked Albion down the right and it was Cleveland Taylor who had to get back on the edge of his own six yard box to cut out the danger. Andy Corbett completed the clearance with a ball that prevented a corner and allowed Adam Bolder to charge down field. The midfielder looked up and played a perfect ball into the path of Calvin ZOLA who had keeper Ben Smith caught in no mans land, taking the ball around the keeper and slotting home.
Things almost got even better for Albion three minutes later when Aaron Webster audaciously tried to find the back of the net from a free kick just inside his own half. With Smith off his line the ball dropped just over the crossbar to spare the keeper's blushes.
Ainsworth proved to be a thorn in Albion's side with another surging run down the right but when he tried to square the ball to Morgan, Ross Atkins intercepted with Tom Parkes having to put the final touches to the clearance again. Morgan went close for the visitors with a side footed effofrt that crashed back off the foot of the post and as the game flowed from end to end again Adam Bolder again turned provider setting Justin Richards on his way. The striker surged into the box but just as he pulled the trigger to shoot Reuben Hazell got back and did just enough to force the Albion man to shoot wide.
The Brewers were temporarily reduced to ten men on the half hour when Tony James went up for a challenge with Morgan and came off worse with a facial injury that forced the defender into the dressing room for some running repairs.
Mark Wright, otherwise quiet in the first half sprung to life with two efforts that had Atkins scrambling but fortunately both ended up wide of the target.
James returned to the fray after five minutes off for treatment and quickly had to make a vital interception as Ainsworth pumped another ball into the heart of the Albion penalty area.
Wright looked set to equalise in the 40th minute but he was denied by a fantastic save from Atkins. Collins and Morgan linked well in attack foir the Shrews and when the former Albion loan man passed up the chance to shoot setting up a chance for his team mate, the net looked all set to ripple with a goal but the Albion stopper flung himself to his left to keep out the midfielder's shot.
Zola almost had a second in the 43rd minute with a shot from distance that again found Smith off his line but the ball dropped just wide of the goal.
The visitors had one more chance at the end of a thrilling half when Morgan went to ground 25 yards out allowing Matt Richards to smash the ball at goal with Atkins again getting down well to push the ball away from danger.
Half time: Burton Albion 1-0 Shrewsbury Town
The Brewers were almost two goals to the good in the 48th minute. Patient passing around the edge of the Shrewsbury area involved Palmer, Richards and Maghoma and when the ball was worked back to the former Spurs trainee he measured a shot that hit the post and went wide. Chris Palmer then tried his luck and Cleveland Taylor forced a good save from Smith as Albion went in search of a second goal.
Maghoma won Albion a free kick in the 52nd minute and the Shrews defence were all at sea when Palmer swung the ball over with the visitors having to scramble the ball away from their own line.
Bolder followed his team mate Jacques Maghoma into the referee's book after he had to lunge in to try and retrieve a slightly wayward pass from Parkes. Marvin Morgan felt the full force fo the challenge but was okay to carry on.
Calvin Zola soon followed for a show of dissent as Shrewsbury began to build up a spell of pressure in search of an equaliser.
The visitors made a double change on 68 minutes with Wright and Collins replaced by Jon Taylor and Terry Gornell. Albion were then forced into a change a minute later as Cleveland Taylor limped off to be replaced by former Shrews man John McGrath.
Albion regrouped and almost snatched a second as Justin Richards got onto the end of a pass by Bolder and twisted and turned just inside the box before forcing Smith to touch his cross shot over the crossbar.
Shrewsbury had another chance to test the Albion rearguard when Morgan won another free kick jus outside the area but Richards teasing centre evaded the defence and his own players trying to come in at the back post.
The visitors eventually broke Albion's resistance in the 84th minute. Shane Cansdell-Sherriff launched the ball into the box and substitute Terry GORNELL rose highest to steer a looping header in off the post to the joy of the supporters behind the goal.
Ainsworth had a chance to steal the three points when Chris Palmer surrendered possession but Tom Parkes thres himself in to make a superb block, hurting himself in the process. Albion cleared the danger and with Parkes restored to the defence after treatment the Brewers had to battle to hold onto their point.
There was a late appearance for Adi Yussuf to make his Football league debut but there was no time to make an impact as both sides had to settle for a draw.
Albion: Atkins; Corbett, James, Parkes, Webster; Taylor (McGrath, 69), Bolder, Maghoma, Palmer; Zola, Richards (Yussuf, 90+1). Substitutes: Poole, Austin, Pearson.
Shrews: Smith, Sharps, Cansdell-Sherriff, Wright (Taylor, 68), Wroe, Collins (Gornell, 68), Morgan, Hazell, Richards, Regan, Ainsworth. Substitutes: Neal, Grandison, McAllister.
Referee: Mr.D.Mohareb (Cheshire)
GOALS: Albion - Zola (13); Shrewsbury - Gornell (84)