Late goals from Jacques Maghoma and Calvin Zola gave Albion some light relief in their final away game of the season but it was agony for Macclesfield Town as they slipped out of the Football League thanks to this defeat and results elsewhere.
A game high on effort but perhaps low on quality was decided in the last ten minutes as Maghoma calmly sidefooted home from Jimmy Phillips cross and Calvin Zola's injury time goal scoring into an empty net after beating Jose Veiga to a loose ball put the cap on a satisfying say for Gary Rowett's men
With Ryan Austin and Aaron Webster both missing the trip to Macclesfield due to injury there were recalls to the team for Tony James and Chris Palmer. A change in formation to 3-4-2-1 also saw Patrick Ada get a rare start with Cleveland Taylor also put back into the starting line up. Ada and James joined skipper Nathan Stanton in a back three while Palmer and Andy Corbett formed the wide midfield elements of a central four man line. Adam Bolder and Jack Dyer continued in the middle with Jacques Maghoma and Taylor given free roles in support of Calvin Zola.
It was a tense afternoon for the Silkmen who began the day bottom of the Football League and without a win in the whole of 2012 to date.
On a hard bouncy pitch and with so much at stake for the hosts it was hardly going to be a classic and the eary stages certainly echoed that. Plenty of early balls forward from the back meant little in the way of flowing football although it was Albion who played the neater stuff. The first real chance fell to Cleveland Taylor in the seventh minute as the ball bounced over Calvin Zola but Jose Veiga stood tall to block his attempted lob. Jacqus Maghoma thn went on a teasing run before cutting inside and firing over the crossbar from just outside the penalty area.
A strong wind was also helping Albion's cause in the first half as they continued to play the more enterprising football but directness almost paid dividends for MAcclesfield in the 17th minute as Matt Hamshaw swung a corner kick and Ben Tomlinson guided his header into the hands of Ross Atkins.
There was more danger for the Brewers three minutes later as a free kick swung in by Hamshaw from the right was headed against the post by defender Ben Futcher from the angle of the six yard box. Macclesfield sensed a goal in the offing and Futcher's central defensive partner Nat Brown headed just wide from another corner kick shortly after.
Jack Dyer showed plenty of determination to drive forward and see a shot deflected away for a corner. Maghoma again fired over the top as Albion broke free of their defensive shackles but on the whole it was still a scrappy affair.
The Hamshaw - Futcher combination was again close to breaking the deadlock on 28 minutes in what was almost a replica of the first chance this time from the other side of the pitch. Hamshaw swung the ball in and Futcher, the tallest man on the pitch this time headed wide of the target.
Set pieces looked to be Macclesfield's best chance and another went begging in the 39th minute as Hamshaw again turned provider with a free kick that Albion struggled to deal with, Brown scooping the loose ball over the bar in the end.
Albion almost profited from one themselves in the 44th minute as Tony James launched a free kick to the edge of the box and when Calvin Zola picked up the loose ball he was not far away from curling a teasing effort into the top corner with Veiga beaten in the Macclesfield goal.
Half time: Macclesfield Town 0-0 Burton Albion
With news filtering through at half time that relegation rivals Barnet were winning their match it was imperative for Macclesfield to get off to a good start in the second half and Brown was close with a header that went wide from another Hamshaw corner. In heading wide Brown also collided with Tony James and the bloodied Albion defender had to receive treatment on the sidelines leaving Albion temporarily a man short.
Back to a full complement Albion pushed forwards and were mighty close to the opener on 58 minutes when Maghoma shaved the outside of the post with a left foot shot that left Veiga didnt even see, unsighted by the pack of bodies in front of him.
Zola missed a good chance on 65 minutes after good work down the right from Taylor and Maghoma resulted in a driven cross that the tall striker tried to swivel and fire home but his timiung was slightly awry and the chance was gone.
Substitute Matt Smith was close with a glancing header from Carl Tremarco's long throw and then Albion were forced into a change with Tony James coming off with blood seeping from beneath his bandage. Andy Corbett dropped into the defensive three and Jimmy Phillips came on down the right side of midfield.
The winger tried to curl an effort round Veiga without success and as Macclesfield began to desperately search for a vital goal the game began to open up with chances for Albion on the counter. And so it proved on 82 minutes as Albion pretty much put a nail in Macclesfield's relegation coffin. A swift counter was led by Bolder who played in Philliips down the side of the penalty area and his driven cross arrived perfecty at the feet of Jacques MAGHOMA to calmly sidefoot home from twelve yards out.
The Silkmen refused to give in and they almost grabbed an equaliser minutes later as George Donnelly was denied at close quarters by Atkins and just when it seemed that Smith would smash home the rebound he was denied by an excellent challenge from Ada inside the six yard box.
That seemed to knock the stuffing out of the home side somewhat and with results elsewhere going against them their stay in the Football League looked to be at an end. There was no doubt about it in stoppage time when ZOLA got to a long ball forward before Veiga, nicking the ball past him and rolling it into the empty net.
SILKMEN: Veiga, Tremarco, Brown, Draper (Diagne, 79), Donnelly, Daniel, Mendy, Wedgbury, Hamshaw, Tomlinson (Smith, 67), Futcher. Substitutes: Chalmer, Cudworth, Bakare.
ALBION: Atkins; Ada, Stanton, James (Phillips, 71); Corbett, Dyer, Bolder, Palmer; Taylor (Pearson, 81), Maghoma (Clucas, 87); Zola. Substitutes: Poole, Richards.
Referee: Mr. O.Langford. (W.Midlands)
GOALS: Albion - Maghoma (82), Zola (90+3)