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17:26 17th March 2012

Burton Albion 1-4 Torquay United

The Gulls continue to fly high as the Brewers continue to droop. A 4-1 defeat was harsh on Albion but against an in-form Torquay side they didnt quite do enough to end the horrendour 14 game run without a win. Justin Richards netted after a calamitous collision between Torquay keeper Bobby Olejnik and defender Brian Saah left him with an open goal but the striker then failed to score from the penalty spot in stoppage time to compound things for the under fire Brewers.

Brewers boss Paul Peschisolido gave home debuts to three players as Albion looked to end their horrendous run of thirteen games without a win. Patrick Ada continued where he lft off last week but with a new defensive partner in Tony James who sported the captain's armband in the absence of both John McGrath and Nathan Stanton. Midfielders Matt Harriott and Lionel Ainsworth also made their first Pirelli stadium starts as Albion reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Jacques Maghoma also made a welcome return to the side as part of the attacking three in support of Calvin Zola.

Rene Howe had the first real shot in anger on five minutes but his effort from the angle of the penalty area went wide of the far post to the relief of Ross Atkins.

Torquay were able to make their next chance count on seven minutes when Rene Howe did well to bring Joe Oastler's cross under control on the edge of the six yard box and he was able to guide it into the path of Danny STEVENS who had time to drill the ball low beyond Atkins into the net.

Burton's woes were increased on twelve minutes when leading scorer Calvin Zola went off having failed to shake off an earlier knock. Justin Richards, scorer of two goals on the opening day of the season at Plainmoor came on as a direct replacement.

Albion's first real opportunity came from a corner just before the quarter of an hour mark but Tony James was unable to guide Ainsworth's delivery onto the target.

Kevin Nicholson patrolling the Torquay left back position was certainly seen more in an attacking light early on firstly putting in an excellent cross that had to be cleared hastily and then sneaking in behind the defence before firing just beyond the far post.

Albion had another half chance in the 23rd minute after some decent work in midfield. Jack Dyer played a first time ball in for Richards who was able to polay an instant lay-off for Ainsworth but his first time shot curled over the crossbar as Albion's search for a goal continued.

Dyer also had a half chance to equalise in the 28th minute but his volley was off target after Ainsworth and Richards had created an opening for the youngster.

That was nearer than his next effort which flew high and wide after a spell of Burton pressure that had Torquay stretched for the first time. Cleveland Taylor supplied two teasing crosses that had to be cleared from dangerous positions but it was a more promising passage of play for Albion.

Just when it looked like Albion were going to get back into it they fell two behind in the 36th minute. Eunan O'Kane instigated the goal on the right and he set up Nicholson for a cross to the near post that was perfect for Lee MANSELL to convert to Ross Atkins right despite the best efforts of the keeper to keep it out with his right leg.

Mansell almost had a third for the visitors in the 43rd minute as Albion's defence was once again carved open and only a poor first touch from the Torquay skipper allowed Ross Atkins to pounce on the ball and prevent things getting even worse for the Brewers.

Howe almost added a third just before half time from a similar position to his earlier effort but this time he went for the near post and skied his effort. It was no surprise that the Brewers left to a chorus of boos at half time after a more than disappointing first half performance.

Half time: Burton Albion 0-2 Torquay United

Albion desperately needed something to go for them early on in the second period and when Torquay keeper Bobby Olejnik and defender Brian Saah both went for the same ball it presented Justin Richards with a chance to fire into the net but he scuffed his effort that went to Cleveland Taylor in an offside position.

Richards did well on the right on 56 minutes to pick out Maghoma with a cross but the midfielder failed to keep his first time shot down and the ball flew over the crossbar.

Burton continued to push for a goal to give thenm a chink of hope but ultimately it was all too comfortable for the Gulls who looked capable of picking Albion off any time the wanted. O'Kane showed more great skill on 63 minutes when he found himself free inside the box but his attempted chip into the top far corner was plucked out of the air by Ross Atkins.

The moment of luck that Albion needed came on 69 minutes. Ainsworth's cross looked comfortable for the Torquay defence but as in the first half Olejnik and Saah managed to collide and the otherwise faultless keeper dropped the ball allowing Justin RICHARDS to almost apologetically score Albion's first goal for 569 minutes.

Albion suddenly looked a lot more purposeful and having dealt with a dangerous free kick from the visitors Ainsworth almost sparked an equaliser when an excellent cross from the right fell for Cleveland Taylor who saw Olejnnik save his hooked shot. Ainsworth was then only inches away from converting a half chance as Richards picked up a loose ball inside the box and drilled it across the face of goal.

Olejnnik then had to dive full length to his left to push away Ainsworth's driven shot and Aaron Webster's looping header dropped just the wrong side of the post as Albion pressed.

All of the Brewers good work was undone in the 82nd minute when Torquay scored a decisive third. There was still plenty to do when Rene HOWE picked up a long ball just inside his own half but with Albion pushing up looking for an equaliser there was room for him to run in down the lft and then curl in a sumptuous finish from the angle of the penalty area that left Ross Atkins with no chance.

It was a fine way to end the game for the impressive front man as he was promptly substituted by Taiwo Atieno for the final minutes and Danny Stevens was also replaced by Ryan Jarvis.

ATIENO wasted no time in impressing by scoring in the 87th minute. Looking well offside the striker strode into the penalty area after receiving Lee Mansell's through ball and after Atkins eventually committed himself the striker calmly slotted the ball home to increase Albion's misery.

There was even more misery to come for Albion as Dyer saw a shot blocked by Olejnik who then performed heroics when Albion were awarded a penalty in stoppage time. Andy Corbett was left free to race into the box and he was about to pull the trigger when Brian Saah sent him tumbling. Richards stepped up looking to make it two goals in each game against Torquay but the keeper got down well to push it away and Richards then put the rebound over with the goal at his mercy.

A free hit at goal from twelve yards and Albion's luck still wasn't in. It summed up a miserable day for the Brewers who now have to pull themselves together for the game against Northampton on Tuesday.

BURTON: Atkins; Corbett, James, Ada, Webster; Dyer, Harriott; Taylor, Maghoma Ainsworth; Zola (Richards, 12). Substitutes: Yussuf, Austin, Phillips, Gurrieri.

TORQUAY: Olejnik, Nicholson, Ellis, Saah, Mansell, Howe, O'Kane, Morris, Oastler, Stevens, Lathrope. Substitutes: Rowe-Turner, Jarvis, Rice, MacDonald, Atieno.

Referee: Mr. A.Bates (Staffordshire)

GOALS: Albion - Richards (69); Torquay - Stevens (7), Mansell (36), Howe (82), Atieno (87)

Attendance: 2,397

    Data provided by Press Association


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