Cheltenham Town enhanced their promotion chances as they prolonged Albion's 2012 misery with a comfortable 2-0 victory at sunny Whaddon Road. January signing from Aldershot Town, Jermaine McGlashan, was the destroyer in chief with goals in each half, the first after just five minutes and there was further misery when Patrick Ada, on his debut for the club as a first half substitute picked up two yellow cards reducing Albion to ten men for the final half an hour of the match.
Billy Kee made a welcome return to the team as Calvin Zola dropped out after picking up an injury in training this week. There was also a recall for Chris Palmer as Jacques Maghoma missed out after limping out of the game against Rotherham United last weekend. Jack Dyer shook off a knock that restricted his training in the week to notch up his third successive start in the team, something the young former Aston Villa man had not managed since joining the club last season. New signing Patrick Ada had to be content with a place on the bench for his first match as an Albion player.
Cheltenham came out of the traps very quickly, befitting of a side riding high in second place in the table. An early corner caused Albion problems as Marlon Pack's effort was returned to him and when he returned the ball with interest only a deflection as the ball flew through the six yard box took it wide of the far post allowing Albion to regroup and settle down a bit.
The hosts were keen to keep pressing and their early endeavours paid dividends when they took the lead in the fifth minute. A throw in from the Cheltenham left was played forward for Josh Low who from a central position was able to look up and pick out Jermaine McGLASHAN to his right. the former Aldershot winger took a touch and as Danny Blanchett stood off drilled a low shot beyond Ross Atkins into the bottom corner.
It took Albion until the 13th minute to make a meaningful foray into the Cheltenham penalty area but the move ended with John McGrath stabbing a disappointing effort wide of the target.
Not content to sit on their single goal advantage the Robins went in search of a second and were given the chance to go for goal when Jack Dyer fouled McGlashan just outside the 'D' allowing Everton loanee Luke Garbutt to fire on goal only for John McGrath to block his effort as he raced from the defensive wall.
Dyer went into the book in the 19th minute for a handball offence, his third infringement of the game prompting Carl Berry to show him a yellow card.
The free kick was comfortably dealt with and as Albion finally began to move forwards Billy Kee had two attempts on goal. The first an ambitious drive from the angle of the penalty area that drifted wide and the second a shot on the turn from 22 yards after a quick free kick from Chris Palmer found him in space. The second effort was on target but lacked the power to seriously test Jack Butland.
Another set piece caused problems for Albion's defence on 24 minutes as Garbutt swung in another teasing set piece with Jeff Goulding glancing a header wide. McGlashan then missed a chance that was easier than the goal he scorer as Jimmy Spencer found him with a neat back heel and having stayed on his feet under pressure from Blanchett pulled his shot wide of Atkins and also the far post.
Andres Gurrieri was the second player booked for the Brewers in a torrid first half although it seemed a rather innocuous foul that earned him his card.
Things almost got worse for Albion as James Spencer thumped a shot against the crossbar but referee Berry had pulled the play back for a free kick just outside the 'D' again. This time Garbutt lifted his effort over the bar and over the stand behind the goal as well.
Albion survived a major scare on forty minutes as Ross Atkins pulled off an excellent penalty save. Danny Blanchett was adjudged to have fouled McGlashan who went rather easily to ground but Atkins stood his ground and diving to his left kept out Jeff Goulding's spot kick.
It was the last action for Blanchett who was quickly replaced by new boy Patrick Ada. Albion briefly rallied as the first half came to a close. Andres Gurrieri had the best chance for Paul Peschisolido's men as he latched onto an angled ball into the channel from John McGrath but Jack Butland denied him with a sharp save low to his left and Albion then forced a coupld of dangerous corners as the half came to a close but it was the home side who went in at the break wondering how they were only one goal to the good.
Half time: Cheltenham Town 1-0 Burton Albion
A positive move from Albion at the start of the second half as Andres Gurrieri was replaced by former Cheltenham striker Justin Richards. Albion reverting to a 4-4-2 for the second period but it was McGlashan who almost doubled his and Cheltenham's tally within 45 seconds of the second period starting. A low driven corner was helped on by Sido Jombati and McGlashan was denied by the outstretched foot of Atkins at the foot of the post.
Albion began to look more positive as they looked for the runs of Richards and the striker was close to carving out a chance for himself but he scuffed his shot wide and then good defending by Alan Bennett denied him a shot after a flowing move from Albion allowed him to sprint into the box.
The Brewers were then reduced to ten men as Ada's debut was brought to an abrupt end after twenty minutes for a second foul on McGlashan. Albion were forced to reshuffle again and Cleveland Taylor replaced Billy Kee. Bennett tried his luck at the other end but Nathan Stanton stood firm in the six yard box to deny him.
The initiative was with the hosts to put the game to bed but they continued to miss chances although most were from long range with Russ Penn the closest with a 22 yard drive that fizzed over the bar.
Albion were restricted to breaks out of defence but Adam Bolder produced an excellent save from Butland down to his left after he was picked out by Richards fifteen yards out. Less than a minute later though and Albion were two goals down as McGLASHAN grabbed his second. Cheltenham won a corner on the right and as Albion's defence failed to deal with it the winger was able to convert a simple chance from no more than three yards out.
Marlon Pack was denied what would have been an excellent third goal by a fingertip save from Atkins as the home side looked to put the gloss onto their performance. To their credit Albion kept plugging away but there was no denying that it was a victory that Cheltenham well and truly deserved.
CHELTENHAM: Butland, Elliott, Pack, Low, Goulding, Spencer, Bennett, Penn, Garbutt, McGlashan, Jombati. Substitutes: Lowe, Duffy, Smikle, Mohamed, Summerfield.
ALBION: Atkins; Driver, Stanton, Austin, Blanchett (Ada, 42); Palmer, Bolder, Dyer, McGrath, Gurrieri (Richards, 46); Kee (Taylor, 64). Substitutes: James, Phillips.
Referee: Mr. C.Berry (Surrey)
GOALS: Cheltenham - McGlashan (5, 73)
Attendance: 2,945 (235 away)