Burton Albion may have changed managers since they last played in the Capital One Cup but their record of knocking higher ranked sides out continued at the Macron Stadium as Championship side Bolton Wanderers were dumped out thanks to Matty Palmer's deflected 87th minute strike.
Gary Rowett developed a knack of defeating higher ranked opposition over the last three seasons but this was a performance up there with those, especially as it was away from home. The Brewers had to survive several periods of pressure from Neil Lennon's side but all the penalty area blocks and last ditch challenges were worth it when Palmer's shot from outside the box took a wicked deflection off a Bolton defender to leave goalkeeper Ben Amos wrong footed and powerless as the ball bounced beyond him.
The result also says much about the new found strength in depth of the Burton squad as Brewers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink made six changes to the side that got the League campaign off to a flying start in League One on Saturday. It could easily have been seven changes but the Albion manager resisted the temptation to throw Jon McLaughlin straight back into the side after serving his one match suspension against Scunthorpe. Remi Matthews, an assured debutant at the weekend, kept his place in the side in goal. The only change to the back four saw Anthony O'Connor return to the side having played most of pre-season but missing out on the Scunthorpe game. He partnered skipper John Mousinho in central defence.
Calum Butcher earned himself a debut and he partnered Callum Reilly in central midfield with Jerome Binnom-Williams also getting a full debut after his brief cameo appearance at the weekend. Lucas Akins kept his place on the right side of midfield. Matty Palmer returned to the team and was deployed centrally giving him licence to get forward and support Timmy Thiele, also handed a full debut for the club. The substitutes bench was packed with experience as McLaughlin was joined by Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, Stuart Beavon, Nasser El Khayati, Tom Naylor and Mark Duffy who were also joined by latest signing Aurelien Joachim with supporters hoping to get a glimpse of the Luxembourg international in Burton colours.
Both sides looked to get on the front foot early on and play some good passing football on the wide expanses of the Macron Stadium pitch. Burton's defence was somewhat stretched in the tenth minute and were grateful for an assistant's flag ruling that Liam Feeney was marginally offside as he looked to exploit a good angled pass into his path that would have had him free on goal.
Zach Clough, a highly prized asset for the Trotters, almost broke the deadlock on 14 minutes. A neat pass found him in space but from the edge of the box his shot found the waiting arms of Matthews.
Akins had Burton's first real strike in anger although his left footer nearly dipped under the crossbar it took a deflection off a defender to earn Burton the first of two corners in rapid succession. Bolton broke quickly from the second and Feeney's low drive took a deflection at the other end to earn the home side a corner which failed to even trouble the Burton defence.
Clough was adjudged to have been felled by Mousinho just outside the box on 20 minutes and although ex-Derby man Dean Moxey shaped to take the free kick it was the young Bolton starlet who sent in a curling shot that deflected off the Burton wall and out for a corner. The home side were starting to crank up the pressure and when Matthews saved another free kick from just outside the box Bolton looked set to score when Gary Madine headed the ball back goalwards from close range. Amazingly the ball bounced off the top of the bar, hit the woodwork again and was eventually cleared.
Phil Edwards made a superb last ditch challenge to prevent Clough from testing Matthews again as he was once again played through the centre, the full back doing a superb covering job to just get a toe end on it to force the ball back to Matthews.
Callum Reilly was the first name to go in referee Richard Clark's notebook after a challenge that did not directly bring young Clough to ground but it did enough to halt his progress and the referee, content that no advantage had accrued for the home side, opted to caution the Burton man.
Albion began to reassert themselves in the attacking half of the field and a strong run from Binnom-Williams created a chance for Reilly to shoot from distance, his shot cannoning back out where Edwards sent in a teasing cross that Binnom-Williams could not quite find the target with.
Good link up play between Madine and Clough almost had the latter in on goal again on 39 minutes but a heavy first touch gave Edwards the chance to nick the ball away from danger.
Two minutes later and Bolton centre back Rob Holding went into Mr Clark's book for a poorly timed challenge on Thiele who had nipped in ahead of the youngster to steal possession on the half way line.
Bolton continued to look the more likely scorers and from a Feeney free kick on 43 minutes Madine got to the ball first but a powerful header flew wide of the near post. Matthews was called into action shortly afterwards when a sweeping move on the left worked the ball to Lawrie Wilson exploiting space on the right but his rising drive was comfortably pushed round the post by the on loan Norwich City stopper. From the corner Dorian Dervite got his head to the ball first but the ball flew over the bar, failing to trouble the Albion keeper.
Albion had been tested during the first half but they were still more than in the game as the half time whistle went.
Half time: Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Burton Albion
Matthews was out smartly to save at the feet of Feeney just ninety seconds after the restart with the home side looking for the sort of start that would settle them down for what remained of the game. Albion's response was to go and apply some serious pressure on the Bolton goal, Akins turning sharply to fire just over. A swift counter through the middle sent Binnom-Williams striding away and a better first touch would have almost certainly given him a first Burton goal but he ended up wider than he wanted allowing Ben Amos to save at his near post.
Bolton were stringing some neat moves together with Mark Davies pulling the strings in midfield and Madine was left hugely frustrated when he cut inside on to his left foot but curled his shot wide of Matthews' goal.
Clough was unceremoniously stopped in his tracks once more to give Bolton another set piece this time Neil Danns stepping up to hit it and forcing Matthews to dive to his left to punch clear.
As the pressure began to intensify on the Burton goal Albion made their first change, just after the hour mark. Akins was the man to make way with Tom Naylor brought on to strengthen the centre of the park, Matty Palmer moving out to the right.
Reilly stung the palms of Amos half way through the second period before the Trotters opted to make their first change, Clough making way, probably to the relief of the Burton players, Stephen Dobbie replacing him.
Thiele did well to win a corner and bustling his way through the penalty area on 71 minutes. Palmer slung the corner in low but Bolton were able to clear.
After a lengthy stoppage for central defender Dorian Dervite to receive treatment it was Albion who grabbed the initiative although Bolton soon regained their shape and began to threaten again, Feeney getting deep inside the Burton penalty area before forcing Matthews to shovel the ball away for the safety of a corner.
Butcher picked up a yellow card for a tug back on Wilson as the full back looked to have nipped round the outside of him.
86 minutes were on the clock when Joachim came on as a straight swap for Thiele but he had a part to play as Albion found themselves in front on 87 minutes. The tall striker hurried the Bolton keeper into a clearance that only found Binnom-Williams on the left. He picked out Matty PALMER and the youngster cut inside and fired in a low speculative shot that took a wicked deflection to beat Amos and nestle in the back of the net.
Bolton's response was to throw on the experience of Emile Heskey and when the fourth official held up five minutes the Brewers knew they were still not home and hosed.
Albion's goalscorer was the last man to be replaced as Albion looked to close out the game. Shane Cansdell-Sherriff was sent on to try and shore up the back-line and in response Bolton sent on Tom Walker to add more to their attack.
Heskey was not far away from connecting with a far post header that was cleared for a corner and Dervite headed wide as the Burton defence held out to keep a clean sheet and take another Championship scalp in the Capital One Cup.