It was not the start Gary Rowett had hoped for on his managerial debut at the Pirelli Stadium as a stoppage time winner from Kelvin Langmead inflicted heartache on the Brewers at the end of a valiant, battling performance against Northampton Town with the visitors able to record their first ever win against the Brewers in three seasons of Football League battles. A fast and frantic game had everything but goals and Albion must have thought they had done enough to secure a first clean sheet since November until the 92nd minute when Langmead put the boot into ther Brewers new era to snatch the points.
Greg Pearson was thrown straight back into the starting line-up following his recall from a loan spell at Crewe Alexandra and the return of last season's player of the year, Adam Legzdins, on a one month loan from Derby County provided another boost for caretaker manager Gary Rowett as he selected his first team as manager of the Brewers. It was back to 4-4-2 for the visit of the Cobblers with Pearson paired with Justin Richards in attack. Jacques Maghoma moved into the centre of midfield to partner Jack Dyer with Cleveland Taylor and Lionel Ainsworth in the wide positions. Ryan Austin was the only change to the back four as he replaced Patrick Ada to reunite the Conference back four once more.
The visitors had an early opportunity through Liverpool loanee Toni Silva but his rasping shot was deflected behind and Clarke Carlisle could only head the resulting corner straight into the waiting arms of Legzdins.
Michael Jacobs found room for a teasing cross in the 6th minute and it was left to Aaron Webster to tidy up and concede a corner before a Northampton player could get there.
Albion were not without chances early on themselves with a tight offside decision ruling out Justin Richards neat finish from Lionel Ainsworth's right wing cross. Ainsworth showed promise from set pieces too with a teasing free kick from the left flicked just over the bar by Pearson.
It was a fast and furious start by both sides and Northampton striker Brett Williams tried an ambitious effort from the angle of the penalty area after getting the better of Ryan Austin but his low shot drifted wide of the far post.
Jacques Maghoma, revelling in a more central role found a superb ball out to the wing for Greg Pearson to beat the offside trap but his cross through the six yard box failed to find another yellow and black shirt. Pearson was almost on the end of a similar move on 32 minute but the striker was just inches away from connecting with Aaron Webster's teasing centre.
Michael Jacobs almost caught Legzdins off guard shortly after with a 30 yard drive that the on loan keeper had to take at the second attempt at his near post.
Silva was proving to be a tricky customerdown the Northampton right and he forced Legzdins into a good stop low down after a free kick from the visitors came back into the Burton box and the youngster cut back inside before trying to find the inside of the near post.
It was end to end stuff and Pearson was close again to breaking the deadlock with a header from another Ainsworth cross but the striker could not quite steer the ball wide of Matt Duke.
Northampton had a late chance to snatch the advantage at the break but another long throw and corner kick were successfully defended by the Brewers to ensure parity as the teams went off at half time.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Northampton Town
The pace continued unabated at the start of the second half with both sides keen to play high tempo fast flowing football. The first clear opening fell for Ben Harding on 52 minutes when Silva worked the space the for a low cross that the on loan midfielder hit straight at the Brewers goalkeeper. The visitors continued to enjoy the better of the opening minutes of the second half and Jacobs rippled the side netting with an effort from the edge of the box
Jacobs then had another chance to open his account but after a jinking run past a couple of defender his left foot shot from the edge of the area sailed over the crossbar.
Albion at last found an opportunity to strike for themselves and a good break down the right allowed Cleveland Taylor to find Pearson in the area but his header was wide of the target.
Jacobs was yellow carded for failing to retreat at a free kick and then the first substitutions came along. Within a minute the lively Silva was replaced by former Albion winger Lewis Young and Jimmy Phillips was thrown into the fray in place of Justin Richards, Ainsworth taking up a more advanced role alongside Pearson.
Phillips had a piledriver of a shot beaten away by Duke who then could only watch as the young Albion winger slid the rebound just wide of the far post. Chris Palmer also came on, replacing Cleveland Taylor and he had to put in a good challenge on Jacobs as the visitors looked to be dominating the possession.
Jacobs produced a similar effort to that of Phillips with Legzdins only able to parry but it was increasingly Northampton pressing for a winner.
Dan Harding was also foiled by Legzdins who got just enough on a low shot after Jacques Maghoma had been dispossessed close to his own penalty area. Albion were penned back more and more and when Matt Harriott was thrown on for Pearson it was a case of trying to shut up shop but there was nothing even he could do when a late free kick came in and amid an almighty scramble in the Albion six yard box it was LANGMEAD who stepped up and was able to slam home the winner.
ALBION: Legzdins; Corbett, James, Austin, Webster; Taylor, Dyer, Maghoma, Ainsworth; Richards, Pearson. Substitutes: Palmer, Phillips, Atkins, Harriott, Ada.
NORTHAMPTON: Duke; Tozer, Williams, Johnson, Jacobs, Guttridge, Silva, Carlisle, Harding, Langmead, Adams. Substitutes: Young, Charles, Webster, Robinson, Hall.
Referee: Mr. S.Rushton (Staffordshire)