AN own goal from Coventry midfielder Tom Bayliss proved to be the difference as Albion grabbed an important 1-0 victory over the in-form Sky Blues at the Pirelli Stadium.
David Templeton's curling free-kick, after the winger had himself been fouled, nicked off the City man and did enough to sneak past visiting keeper Lee Burge before dropping into the corner of the net.
It was a crucial moment in a match that was evenly contested and could have gone either way, particularly in the first half when both goalkeepers made important saves to keep the scores level.
For Albion it continued their good league form whilst for the visitors it was a first defeat in seven.
Wth Liam Boyce away on international duty with Northern Ireland there was just the single change to the side as high-flying Coventry arrived at the Pirelli. Boyce's absence opened the door for David Templeton to return to the side on the left of the attacking three. With Dimitar Evtimov also also away with the Bulgarian national side there was a return to the bench for Stephen Bywater who had been out of action since August with a shoulder problem.
Kyle McFadzean was shown an early yellow card with just five minutes on the clock as on loan Derby forward Luke Thomas threatened to show him a clean pair of heels, the Albion man just stepping across and halting his run.
The returning Templeton was soon showing plenty of the trickery and close control that has made him a fans favourite. Eight minutes were gone when he picked up the ball and cut inside before curling a teasing effort just wide from the edge of the box.
With plenty of youthful pace Coventry were a threat on the counter and Conor Chaplin quickly released Tom Bayliss down the right when a Burton attack broke down but the cross when it came in only found Damien McCrory who was able to clear the immediate threat.
Chaplin was posing a useful threat forcing Collins into a smart save low to his left as Albion looked for an offside flag but the assistant did have his flag up moments later when the on-loan Portsmouth man just went too early to try and latch onto Bayliss' slide rule pass through the Burton back four.
Albion had a chance to test out Lee Burge on 17 minutes when they were awarded a fortunate free kick for Bayliss' challenge on Hesketh when the Burton man looked to have overrun the ball. Stephen Quinn curled the ball beyond the wall but could not put it out of the reach of the Coventry keeper.
Thomas' pace down the left was a concern and it took the outstretched foot of Collins to deny him from a tight angle before Albion's keeper had to rush from his goal to cut out the ball on the edge of the box before the City forward could nip it around him.
Jake Hesketh forced Burge into an excellent save low to his right when it looked like the ball had gone past him and with Templeton seizing on the rebound a deflection took the ball behind for a corner.
Albion continued to pose the greater attacking threat and Burge was called upon once more on 36 minutes when Jamie Allen found space in the box to get a shot away that the keeper cleared with his feet at close range.
Bayliss got Coventry back on the front foot again with five to go to the break bursting through from half way and almost catching Collins out with a driven effort that was not that far over the bar when it whistled past the keepers fingertips.
Although Albion finished the half on top it was going to be another case of trying to settle things in the second half.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Coventry City
A bright start from Albion almost yielded a goal within a minute of the restart when McCrory's burst into the box was only blocked as far as Templeton who drilled a low shot inches wide of the upright.
Devante Cole then burst through but was denied by an excellently timed challenge inside the box as he was about to pull the trigger.
Templeton was close again when a flowing move opened up space on the left, the Scot slightly mistiming his effort but still forcing Jordan Willis to hack his effort clear from inside the six yard box.
Collins denied Thomas once more on 57 minutes when Thomas picked the pocket of Allen in the centre circle and sprinted towards goal with the Chelsea loanee saving bravely at his feet.
The breakthrough came on 62 minutes when Templeton was felled going on another tricky run infield and the winbger picked himself up, dusted himself down and swung in a beauty of a free kick that flicked off WILLIS before nestling in the bottom corner.
Templeton was replaced shortly after his telling intervention with Will Miller sent on to try and maintain the momentum down the left hand side.
Coventry went with a double change as the game entered the final twenty minutes with Abu Ogogo replacing the experienced Michael Doyle and Amadou Bakayoko coming on for Jonson Clarke-Harris.
Fraser was inches away with a curling free kick after Hesketh was brought down just outside the box and Miller was creating problems for Coventry down the left, good link-up with Cole almost creating a second with Burge saving well to deny him.
Miller moved up front for the closing stages as Jake Buxton replaced Cole resulting in a switch to 4-2-3-1 but Albion held on comfortably for a good win.