Ten man Burton Albion slumped to a second successive defeat as the home side racked up a second straight win. On a miserable and wet Buckinghamshire afternoon pretty much everything went wrong for Albion as they conceded an early goal to Matt McClure who pounced on a save from Dean Lyness. Albion dominated most of the rest of the first half giving hope for the second period but the dismissal of skipper Zander Diamond fora professional foul along with the subsequent penalty scored by Joel Grant gave Albion a mountain to climb. When McClure added a third five minutes later it was all over for the Brewers.
The welcome return of Calvin Zola was the only change to the Burton Albion side for the visit to League 2 strugglers Wycombe Wanderers. Having recovered from the head injury that forced him off against Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend the Congolese frontman came back into the side at the expense of Matt Paterson who picked up a knock in training on Friday. On the bench there was a return to matchday duty for Andy Corbett replacing Justin Richards for whom there was no place in the matchday eighteen.
The Brewers made a bright start to the game but it was Wycombe who forced the first nervy moment in either defence. An interception down the right found Dean Morgan free towards the bye line and he swung over a dangerous cross that had to be headed out beyond the far post by Anthony O'Connor.
Albion's first dangerous mave came in the tenth minute as a counter attack instigated by Kee ended with a ball into the path of former Wanderers midfielder Chris Palmer who could only shoot tamely at Jordan Archer.
Wycombe took the lead though in the 13th minute as they pounced on a parry from Lyness. A long ball forward was headed down by Morgan into the path of former Crewe man Joel Grant. His placed effort was palmed out by the Albion keeper but Matt McCLURE was there first to knock home the rebound from inside the 6 yard box.
Albion almost found themselves two goals down in the 21st minute as a loose pass from Lee Bell left Albion exposed down their left hand side and Bruno Andrade cut inside swiftly to fire a left foot effort against the outside of the post.
Burton tried hard to respond and when Jacques Maghoma won a corner from a speculative shot in the 23rd minute it led to a flurry of corners for the visitors that were eventually repelled as Chris Palmer's delivery had the home side defending frantically.
Albion started to look more composed and Billy Kee forced Archer into a save low to his right when Robbie Weir's ball up to Calvin Zola was nudged into his path on the edge of the area.
The pressure was not almost exclusively Burton's at this point and Wycombe had to survive another nervy moment when Zander Diamond's header from another Palmer corner was not cleared properly and when Nathan Stanton was fouled in an advanced position shortly after Maghoma forced Archer into a scrambling save at the second attempt after the Spurs loanee spilt the original free kick.
The home side resorted to long balls to try and relieve the pressure but despite Burton probing around the edge of the Wycombe box the home side held onto their lead as ythe half time whistle went.
Half time: Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 Burton Albion
Lyness was forced to save a low shot at his right hand post in the early moments of the second period before Albion worked a chance as Lee Bell swung in a dangerous cross with Maghoma not far away from getting a foot on the ball as it fizzed through the penalty area.
As conditions began to get trickier in the wet conditions Wycombe sensed a chance to grab a second and they were mighty close as Sam Wood released Dean Morgan inside the area and he thumped a shot against the outside of the post with Albion stretched.
Things got worse for Albion as Zander Diamond conceded a penalty and was red carded in the 56th minute. Another passing move saw Matt McClure pounce on a ball into the area and the Albion skipper marginally mistimed his challenge to bring down the Wycombe goalscorer and as last man had to go. After protests from Albion it was Joel GRANT who stepped up to calmly beat Lyness from the spot.
Before the game could kick off again Marcus Holness was brought on to restore the back four with Billy Kee sacrificed from attack.
Albion were three behind on 63 minutes as Wycombe piled forwards. A diagonal ball to the back post found Grant who saw his header was well saved by Lyness and the ball fell kindly again for McClure to smash home his second of the game.
McClure almost completed his hattrick five minutes later as an excellent ball in from the right found him in the penalty area but his header flew wide of the post by a matter of inches.
With twenty minutes still left on the clock Albion decided to bring on Andy Corbett on the right hand side with Jacques Maghoma substituted and Chris Palmer switching flanks.
Burton were struggling to find any fluency and made their third change in the 78th minute with Jacob Blyth given his second outing in Albion colours as Zola was withdrawn.
The two substitutes almost combined for what would only have been a consolation goal in the 86th minute. Corbett found himself inside the box on the bye line and he cut the ball back to Blyth who, under pressure from a defender, scuffed his shot across the six yard box.
It was not to be Albion's day as Weir was fouled on the edge of the box and Wycombe cleared the free kick only for McCrory to be similarly fouled and the left back smashed his free kick into the wall.
Wycombe could have had a fourth when substitute Junior Morias scampered into the box late on but Lyness came to Albion's rescue with a good block.
WYCOMBE: Archer, Lewis, Wood, Johnson, Winfield, Andrade, Kewley-Graham, Scowen, Grant, Morgan, McClure. Substitutes: Harrison, Ainsworth, Oli, Morais, Hause, Ehui, Azeez.
BURTON: Lyness; O'Connor, Diamond, Stanton, McCrory; Palmer, Bell, Weir, Maghoma; Zola, Kee. Substitutes: Atkins, Corbett, McGrath, Taylor, Holness, Dyer, Blyth.
Referee: Mr. D.Webb (Co. Durham)
GOALS: Wycombe - McClure (13, 63), Grant (57 pen)
Attendance: 3,191 (153 away)