A hard earned away point against in-form Southend United kept Burton Albion in second place in the Skybet League 2 table ahead of Saturday's remaining fixtures. On a night of few chances on the Essex coast Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's men ground out a solid performance with scoring chances at a premium with Bryn Morris and Alex MacDonald having the best chances for the Brewers in an improved second half performance.
Team selection for the visit to Roots Hall was easy in the light of Saturday's comfortable victory over Hartlepool United. An unchanged starting line-up was the order of the day with just one change on the bench as Liam Slade replaced Marcus Harness.
Southend almost got themselves off to a flier with the returning Ben Coker playing in Kevan Hurst down the left and his nifty turn and shot across the face of goal was only inches wide. It looked as though Jon McLaughlin may have got fingertips to it but if he did then neither the referee or linesman spotted it and a goal kick was awarded.
The home side looked the more lively in the opening stages but Alex MacDonald had chance to test the keeper with a free kick on thirteen minutes that was well within the wingers range but after setting his sights from 30 plus yards he could only smash the ball into the defensive wall.
Robbie Weir bundled Jack Payne to the ground to concede a Southend free kick and it took a very good headed clearance from skipper John Mousinho to clear the danger as David Worrall looked to pounce.
Albion had a free kick on their edge of their own penalty area when Barry Corr went in strongly on Mousinho and with the ball moved quickly forwards, Jacob Blyth fed MacDonald and after cutting inside his defender his low shot was disappointingly dragged wide of the target.
A poor defensive back header from Shane Cansdell-Sherriff gave Corr a chance for a volley on goal just before the half hour mark but the striker's finish was as poor as the Albion defender's original header.
Southend continued to probe at the Burton defence with a couple of dangerous free kicks looking threatening but McLaughlin safely pouched one and made a good punched clearance under pressure from the second.
A largely uninspiring first half ended with neither side having a shot on target. Albion should have probably closed with a free kick but when Lenihan went down after latching onto Stuart Beavon's through ball referee Charles Breakspear was not interested guaranteeing a goalless first half.
Half time: Southend United 0-0 Burton Albion
Southend were presented with a good chance to grab the lead two mintues into the second period. MacDonald was shown a yellow card for a grappling match with home skipper John White and McLaughlin had to get down low to his left to push Coker's free kick round the post.
Burton were almost gifted a golden opportunity when a terrible clearance from Cian Bolger went straight to MacDonald who quickly found Beavon on the edge of the box but his low shot on the turn was easy enough for Daniel Bentley to stop. Albion quickly stepped it up a gear and a low cross from MacDonald was met on the volley by Bryn Morris but he couldnt keep his effort down.
Payne smashed a shot at goal that McLaughlin had to hastily beat away and from Ryan Leonard's long throw Barry Corr should have done much better than put his header straight into the waiting arms of the keeper.
McLaughlin then produced an excellent save to deny Corr as he found plenty of time and space to head Hurst's free kick on the target, Albion's keeper athletically tipping the ball over his crossbar.
Blyth then picked up Albion's second yellow card of the game jumping into White in his attempts to challenge for the ball.
Matty Palmer was the first Albion substitute to make an appearance, replacing Bryn Morris and the young midfielder quickly saw a rasping shot blocked as Beavon lead a quick breakaway down the right.
MacDonald showed a neat piece of trickery to make space for a curling shot over the bar and then skewed a shot wide when Blyth helped on Beavon's cross from the right.
Corr played no further part in the final eight minutes of the game with Myles Weston thrown on to try and get the breakthrough goal.
The hard working MacDonald was given a break for the last five minutes with Adam McGurk given the chance to become a last gasp hero. The Irishman had little opportunity to make an impact with Southend substitute Myles Weston perhaps summing up the home sides night, falling over the ball in stoppage time just when it looked like the chance to shoot was opening up.
It would have been very harsh had Albion come away with nothing for their efforts and another point on the road is not to be sniffed at.