A GOALLESS draw ensured the spoils were shared at the Wham Stadium as Burton Albion made it eight games unbeaten away from home with this draw at Accrington Stanley.
There was just one change from Albion’s last game 10 days prior, with Michael Bostwick dropping out of the squad and on-loan left-back Josh Earl coming in, making his first start since our home game against Sunderland in February.
While Accrington probably had the bulk of possession in the opening stages there was little in the way of goalmouth chances in the opening 10 minutes, with defences on top.
Paul Smyth had the first shot on target of the game in the seventh minute as an effort from 25 yards bounced awkwardly in front of Ben Garratt, who did well to block the ball with his chest and smother it at the second attempt.
The ball then fell nicely for Dion Charles and Smyth in the 11th minute, both Accrington players trying to work space for a shot, but the Brewers got bodies behind the ball, kept a strong shape in their 18-yard box and made crucial blocks from their attempted shots on goal.
But Albion were keeping their shape well and were soon working the ball about nicely. Just two minutes later, Sean Clare did well after playing a one-two with Lucas Akins to drive forward into space and send a powerful low effort at goal from 25 yards, but it ran two yards wide of the near post.
Tom Hamer was once again on long throw duty and one delivery into the box on 21 minutes, caused issues as it was flicked on to an unmarked Jonny Smith at the far post, but Smith was leaning back as he shaped to shoot and his effort from 12 yards went over the crossbar.
Earl sent one dangerous delivery into the box four minutes later which the onrushing Kane Hemmings was inches away from, but Cameron Burgess remained with him and got a vital touch to the cross to divert it wide for a corner, before Hemmings could apply the finish.
The best chance of the first half for either side fell to Smith on 40 minutes and it came from an excellent counter. Ryan Edwards won possession back superbly from Smyth and set off forward before finding Smith free in the box - he did well to jink away from the defenders rushing back but saw his powerful, drilled effort tipped by Toby Savin onto the crossbar, with the ball bouncing on the line and away from goal.
HALF-TIME: BURTON ALBION 0-0 ACCRINGTON STANLEY
If the first half ended promisingly, the second half was attritional in the opening stages with chances largely at a premium.
Just past the hour, the hosts did cause problems with a series of corners which Albion had to be alert to, Michael Mancienne making a series of important blocks as the Brewers saw out that particular danger.
But they had another warning in the 67th minute as Smyth pulled back a ball for Charles, who should have hit the target but blazed over from close range.
Smyth then found himself in space in the box, but Hamer defended well, showing the Accrington man onto his left foot and then blocking his effort, taking the sting out of the effort and allowing Garratt to easily claim.
Albion continued to work hard, trying to work the ball forward but unable to test Savin in the Accrington net, and the hosts had another good chance in the 83rd minute as Colby Bishop got between the centre-backs onto the end of a deep cross but sent his header over the bar from 10 yards.
The game entered two minutes of added time and Accrington came close twice - one cross into the six-yard box was met by Charles but Josh Earl did brilliantly, putting the forward off enough for him to put his effort wide from close range, and Garratt made a superb late save to deny Charles once again as he found space in the box.
A point apiece was arguably the right result - and Albion went eight games unbeaten on the road for the first time in the EFL ahead of another big game at home to Swindon Town on Easter Monday.
FULL-TIME: BURTON ALBION 0-0 ACCRINGTON STANLEY
ACCRINGTON: Savin, Nottingham, Burgess, Butcher, Smyth, McConville, Maguire, Rodgers, Bishop, Conneely ©, Charles. Subs not used: Isherwood, Russell, Perritt, Sama, Mansell, Phillips, Morgan.
BREWERS: Garratt, Brayford ©, Edwards, Hemmings (Fondop 80), Akins, Smith, Earl, Carter, Clare, Hamer, Mancienne. Subs not used: O’Hara, Powell, Varney, O’Toole, Gilligan, Taylor.
YELLOW CARDS: Mancienne 53 (Brewers).
RED CARDS: None