Burton Albion celebrated their 100th match in the Football League by recording their first victory over Crewe Alexandra thanks to Justin Richards first half strike. Richards took advantage of a horrible mistake by Crewe keeper Steve Phillips for his 8th goal of the season.
Burton Albion faced Crewe Alexandra in the club's landmark 100th Football League match. Paul Peschisolido was forced into one change to the starting eleven which began the match at Oxford on Saturday. Chris Palmer came in to replace Jacques Maghoma who picked up an ankle injury in the 2-2 draw.
Ryan Austin, Andy and Calvin Zola lined up against their former employers with another former Railwayman Danny Blanchett on the bench. Aaron Webster clocked up his 550th appearance for the Brewers.
It was a lively opening to the game with Phillips picking up the ball early on and running at the Crewe defence. He appeared to be brought down but the referee waved play on. A minute later Phillips was involved again, interchanging nicely with Webster who drilled in a shot at the near post, Steve Phillips beat the ball away.
Burton had their next chance in the ninth minute. Richards chested the ball down to Palmer who crossed from the right, the ball was a little behind Zola and his header looped over the bar.
Burton continued there promising start to the game with a superb passing move in the 14th minute. Webster received the ball after a long spell of possession, he picked out Zola on the edge of the area who flicked the ball across to Richards. The Brewers top scorer turned 18 yards out and fired narrowly wide of the keeper's left post.
A minute later Zola had another sight of goal, picking up the ball inside the penalty area but he was closed down quickly. The danger wasn't over with the ball breaking to Phillips who cut inside before firing in a shot on goal, the ball cannoning into a Crewe defender and away to safety.
Crewe had their first good chance in the 25th minute, Leitch-Smith finsing his way past Austin on the edge of the area, Austin recovered to force the Crewe frontman wide and the shot was staright at Atkins.
Burton were back on the front foot soon after and went close through McGrath, wingers Phillips and Palmer switched positions and the crosses continued to flash through the visitors penalty area.
Burton took a well deserved lead in the 34th minute. Webster played the ball forward wth keeper Phillips rushing out, RICHARDS beat him to it but still had plenty to do threading the ball past Phillips and through two Crewe defenders into the net.
Zola came close to a goal against his former club in the 40th minute, latching onto Richards' flick on before shooting on the turn just the wrong side of the near post. Richards then had a chance for his second a minute before the break, controling Phillips' cross neatly before turning and shooting over the bar.
Crewe went close in first half added time, Matt Tootle attacking down the left, cutting inside Corbett before seeing his shot saved by the feet of Atkins.
Half time: Burton Albion 1-0 Crewe Alexandra
There were no changes at the break and Burton looked to carry on where they left off, Zola making himself some space on the edge of the area before sending a rising drive on target forcing a smart save out of Phillips. Zola went close again in the 57th minute, demonstarting superb control on the edge of the area before curling a left footed shot just wide of the far post.
Burton continued to press and Palmer almost caught out Steve Phillips with a cross which the keeper misjudged, fortunatley for Crewe there was no Brewers forward attacking the far post. A slip in the area then denied Zola a goal in the 64th minute as he battled through the Crewe defence.
Crewe gave a reminder of the danger they still posed in the 69th minute when Tootle slammed a low drive on goal from 20 yards after a swift counter attack. Atkins was right behind the ball and saved comfortably.
Former Crewe man Danny Blanchett replaced Chris Palmer in the 71st minute as Peschisolido looked to firm things up for the final 20 minutes. Crewe brought on Max Clayton for Danny Shelley 4 minutes later.
With little over ten minutes remaining Crewe started to come back into the match, Byron Moore flashing the ball across the six yard box, good defending from Austin cleared the danger. Crewe made their second change, Caspar Hughes on for Lee Bell in the 80th minute.
Richards sent in a dipping drive with ten minutes remaining, Phillips held the ball with Zola alert to any fumble.
Crewe went close through Miller's header with four minutes left on the clock. Phillips then linked up well with Zola two minutes later, forcing a sprawling stop from Steve Phillips in the Crewe goal.
As play entered two minutes of added time Burton brought on Billy Kee for goalscorer Justin Richards.
Full time: Burton Albion 1-0 Crewe Alexandra
Goals: Burton - Richards (34)
Referee: Mr D. Drysdale
Brewers: ATKINS, CORBETT, AUSTIN, JAMES, WEBSTER, PALMER, BOLDER, MCGRATH, PHILLIPS, ZOLA, RICHARDS. Subs: POOLE, MOORE, YUSSUF, BLANCHETT, KEE.
Crewe: PHILLIPS, TOOTLE, DAVIS, DUGDALE, BELL, MURPHY, MILLER, LEITCH-SMITH, MOORE, SHELLEY, MARTIN. Subs: MARTIN, SAREVIC, MELLOR, CLAYTON, HUGHES.