Billy Kee proved once again to be the scourge of Fleetwood Town as he struck his fourth goal in as many games to send Burton Albion through to a third round tie away to Championship side AFC Bournemouth in the New Year. It was Kee, of course, who had taken the tie to a replay with his 93rd minute equaliser at Fleetwood ten days ago and his 24th minute strike from the edge of the area proved enough in a close fought encounter to seal the prize money and that coveted place in the third round of the Cup courtesy of a 1-0 win.
Manager Gary Rowett resisted the temptation to make changes with a place in the third round at stake naming the same side and substitutes as for the game against York City with Adam McGurk still deemed unfit to play. Fleetwood were lacking in attacking options with Sheffield Wednesday loanee Emmanuel Dieseruvwe their only fully fit and available striker, Jon Parkin and David Ball only declared fit enough for places on the bench.
Returning midfielder Steven Schumacher fired in the first attempt on goal in the second minute as Junior Brown, another absentee from the first ties starting line-ups, weaved his magic on the right to tee the former Tranmere man up for a shot from 22 yards out that failed to trouble Dean Lyness.
Albion immediately had their opponents penned in for a sustained period but the only opportunity to come their way was a low shot wide from Chris Hussey, cutting in from the right.
Robbie Weir had a shooting chance on 19 minutes after some good approach play and had his shot been a yard either side of the keeper it would undoubtedly been a goal but Scott Davies was able to gather at the second attempt.
Albion had been the better of the two sides and the goal their performance deserved promptly arrived on 24 minutes. Damien McCrory delivered a far post cross that was headed back into the centre by Chris Hussey and KEE did well to control, turn and shoot low into the bottom corner beyond an unsighted Davies.
Jeff Hughes was quickly booked for a somewhat reckless challenge that left Lee Bell writhing on the ground and in need of attention.
Rene Howe should probably have made it two on the half hour mark when a lovely cross with the outside of his right boot from Alex MacDonald reached the burly striker who had two attempts at the header but put the ball wide under pressure from.
Hughes, still suffering the effects of his challenge on Bell lasted until the 34th minute when he finally succumbed to injury and had to be replaced by Antoni Sarcevic.
Howe warmed the palms of Davies with a low drive on 41 minutes as he tried to get his shot away whilst trying to get round Ryan Cresswell but neither side really threatened to trouble the scorers in what remained of the first half.
Half time: Burton Albion 1-0 Fleetwood Town
Kee launched a teasing cross shot across the box in the opening seconds of the half with Howe and Hussey both unable to quite get on the end of it before Fleetwood bared their attacking teeth with a stinging long range shot from Charlie Taylor and a near post shot from Gareth Evans both needing smart saves from Lyness.
Howe capitalised on some shoddy defensive work to fire in a shot on 51 minutes that took a deflection off a defender leaving Davies rooted to the spot as it looped over the crossbar.
Kee was unceremoniously brought down by Junior Brown moments later to concede a dangerous free kick just outside the box and Alex MacDonald drilled a low shot into the near post where Davies again took two attempts to save.
The game threatened to erupt into a rather unsavoury affair just short of the hour mark when substitute Sarcevic burst through and went to ground. When the referee blew his whistle instantly most people inside the Pirelli Stadium were expecting a penalty for the visitors but referee Charles Breakspear awarded Albion a free kick for a dive by Sarcevic and he was booked as was Phil Edwards for his part in remonstrating with Sarcevic as part of a sixteen man push and shove contest ensued.
Kee had a great chance to double Albion's lead as a flowing move down the Brewers right put the ball on a plate for him to turn but unlike his effort at Highbury Stadium in the first tie, this time his effort was high, wide and not very handsome.
Fleetwood made an attacking substitution with the introduction of striker Ball on 72 minutes. The former Peterborough front man was sent on in place of Stewart Murdoch who had been playing in the centre of midfield.
Brown had been struggling with a knock for some time after a challenge with Weir earlier in the half and with a little under a quarter of an hour to go he was replaced by Ryan Crowther.
Alex MacDonald had put in another sterling shift for the Brewers and he was given the last few minutes off as he made way for Matty Palmer in the closing stages.
Steven Schumacher was almost made to pay for dwelling on the ball for too long and as he looked to the referee for a free kick Howe picked himself up to hit a dipping shot just over the bar.
Skipper Lee Bell limped off after a heavy challenge as the clock ticked into four minutes of added time and it was Zander Diamond asked to come and shore up the midfield and see the game out.