Burton Albion pulled off a smash and grab victory at Home Park in a match which for long periods failed to produce any moments of attacking quality. Plymouth took the lead shortly after the break, a moment of sublime skill from Warren Feeney set up Paris Cowan-Hall to slot past Mark Oxley. The Brewers looked to be sliding towards defeat before an incredible five minutes which saw Nathan Stanton head his first goal for the club and Robbie Weir nod the Brewers into the lead. The scoreline will have delighted the hardy 33 travelling supporters who made the long trip to the South West.
Brewers boss Gary Rowett decided on a change of formation for the Wednesday evening journey to Devon, switching to a 4-2-3-1 lineup to match their opponents Plymouth Argyle. In came Jack Dyer in holding midfield alongside Lee Bell and Cleveland Taylor replaced Jordan Chapell on the right of three men in behind lone striker Calvin Zola.
Fit again Marcus Holness and Chris Palmer both returned to the bench. Billy Kee had travelled with the squad but was not listed amongst the substitutes with Burton only naming six men on the bench.
After a quiet opening ten minutes it was the Brewers who had the first effort on goal. Robbie Weir picked up Calvin Zola's knock down 25 yards from goal but sent his right footed shot well wide. A minute later Weir then tried to feed the ball through to Zola on the edge of the area but his through ball had too much on it and Jake Cole was quickly off his line to collect.
Plymouth made an early change with Paris Cowan-Hall replacing Alex MacDonald in the 27th minute. But with the half hour approaching there was very little in the way of action on the pitch. Cleveland Taylor was booked soon after the change after a late challenge on Andres Gurrieri.
Plymouth came close to opening the scoring the 36th minute. Onismor Bhasera looked to place an effort from 25 yards following a Plymouth corner, Oxley was left flat footed and could only watch as the ball narrowly passed wide of the post. The home send then went closer still in the 40th minute, Curtis Nelson rising highest in the area to head a freekick on target, Oxley dived to his left to pull off an impressive save.
Robbie Weir went into a strong 50/50 challenge with Maxime Blanchard shortly before the break. It was a fair challenge but left the Plymouth man needing treatment before hobbling to the sidelines, although he was able to return before half time.
Half time: Plymouth Argyle 0-0 Burton Albion
Plymouth opened the scoring four minutes into the second half. It was a terrific piece of skill by Feeney as he took down the ball on half way and turned in the same motion before feeding the ball through to Paris Cowan-Hall in the right channel, he cut inside McCrory before firing the ball low inside the post.
McCrory was booked shortly afterwards for a foul on Cowan-Hall.
Billy Kee, who wasn't on the teamsheet given to the press before the game, replaced Cleveland Taylor in the 55th minute. Nathan Stanton was the next name in the referee's book, again for a foul on Cowan-Hall.
Chris Palmer made his return from an ankle injury in the 61st minute, replacing Jacques Maghoma who had had a quiet game out on the left.
Gurrieri tested Oxley in the 68th minute with a swerving 25 yard effort which the Burton keeper could only punch away. Burton were yet to create a chance of note in the second half with Plymouth looking the much more composed side. Kee picked up a knock down from Zola on the edge of the area but failed to make a proper connection with his shot.
Burton's equaliser came from their first real attack of the second half, and from the unlikeliest of sources when Nathan STANTON nodded in from 2 yards. Chris Palmer's corner was headed back across goal by Diamond where Stanton then had two attempts at heading the ball past Cole.
And Burton Albion then took the lead five minutes later, Palmer's whipped cross was punched out by Cole straight onto the head of WEIR 10 yards from goal who nodded the ball back past the Plymouth keeper.
Plymouth replaced Jamie Lowry with Joe Lennox with three minutes remaining as they looked to salvage something from the match.
But Burton were able to see out the match in relative comfort.
Full time: Plymouth Argyle 1-2 Burton Albion
Goals: Plymouth - Cowan-Hall 49. Burton - Stanton 75, Weir 79.
Attendance: 5219 (33 away)
Referee: Mr D. Eaton
Brewers: Oxley, O'Connor, Diamond, Stanton, McCrory, Bell, Dyer, Taylor, Weir, Maghoma, Zola. Subs: Lyness, Richards, C.Palmer, M.Palmer, Holness, Paterson, Kee.
Plymouth: Cole, Berry, Blanchard, Young, Feeney, Bhasera, Lowry, Nelson, Madjo, Gurrieri, MacDonald. Subs: Cowan-Hall, Griffiths, Lennox, Gilmartin, Richards, Harvey, Griffiths.