ALBION and Shrewsbury Town battled away to take a share of the spoils from a goalless draw at the Montgomery Waters Meadow on a sweltering afternoon that saw defences decisively on top.
The hot conditions certainly made any sort of pacy football difficult but the fact that neither goalkeeper was called into serious and meaningful action perhaps told the story of a game between two very evenly matched sides.
Kieran O'Hara was only really called upon to save a Josh Laurent effort low to his left whilst opposite number Max O'Leary calmly dealt with an Oliver Sarkic header and some dangerous crosses into his box in the first half as the Brewers made sure they kept up their unbeaten record on the road this season although it was not the win that manager Nigel Clough had hoped for.
With the hectic schedule of games starting to take its toll there were a couple of changes as both Liam Boyce and Nathan Broadhead rested knocks. Boyce was on the bench but made way for the returning John-Joe O'Toole and Sarkic, handed a first ever Football League start, came in for Broadhead meaning Jevan Anderson stepped up to the bench.
Shrewsbury, on the back of a stirring 3-2 comeback victory at Accrington on Tuesday were almost off to a flier when Ryan Giles escaped down the left and fizzed over a cross that Shaun Whalley, steaming into the middle, failed to make any connection with.
Once Albion got into attacking mode it became clear that they were deploying a 4-2-3-1 formation keeping Fraser in the middle of the three behind lone striker Akins and Ryan Edwards pushed slightly wider on the right and Sarkic on the left whilst Kieran Wallace and Stepehn Quinn sat deeper.
Albion drew the early sting out of Shrewsbury's energetic start before Sarkic kept Town keeper O'Leary on his toes with a header that was on target but relatively comfortable for the Bristol City loanee.
Both Akins and Fraser seemed to be bundled to the ground with referee Lee Swabey showing no interest in giving either befoer the two combined on 21 minutes for Fraser to run into the box but, under pressure, chip a tame shot straight at O'Leary.
Shrewsbury had a good chance to edge in front on 27 minutes when Shaun Whalley capitalised on an error from skipper Jake Buxton to race to the edge of the box. Cutting inside onto his trusty left foot the chance opened up to shoot but a superb challenge from Quinn denied him.
Albion had a flurry of corners around the 35 minute mark as Shrewsbry were on the back foot but the home defence stood firm as the Brewers could not quite find that incisive ball to cut them open with a good chance. Brayford was closest just missing a chance at the far post before a poor clearance came out to him and invited him to try his luck but the full back drilled his effort too high.
Josh Laurent strode forward purposefully as the Shrews looked to break free of their defensive shackles and it was down to O'Hara to tidy up by safely gathering in his shot from the edge of the area.
Half time: Shrewsbury Town 0-0 Burton Albion
In a frantic start to the second period Albion were almost ahead inside 25 seconds. Sarkic's square ball caused panic on the edge of the Shrews box and both Fraser and Edwards were denied by last ditch blocks inside the six yard box.
Shrewsbury hit back and probably should have taken the lead on 50 minutes when Whalley was able to get into the box and although he was initially held up his cross eventually came out to skipper Dave Edwards who blasted well wide of goal.
Shrews changed their attack on 52 minutes with the guile and experience of Steve Morison replaced by the pace and power of Fejiri Okenabirhie.
O'Toole was the first recipient of a yellow card as he blocked off the run of Whalley as he tried to lead a break-out down the Shrews left hand side.
Albion held off until the 63rd minute to make their first change and it meant a rest for Quinn and the introduction of Boyce facilitating a change to the more regular 4-3-3 with Fraser dropping into a more central role allowing Boyce to lead the line.
Both sides were struggling to create clear cut chances and Akins flashed a header wide of the target on 69 minutes from a Fraser corner as Albion looked to get back in the groove after the second half drinks break instigated by the referee.
Shrewsbury made their final two changes including the withdrawal of Whalley who had looked their greatest threat with Daniel Udoh, a scorer in their 3-2 midweek win coming in.
Oliver Sarkic made way for Joe Sbarra on 76 minutes as Albion freshened up their own attack and with ten to go O'Toole was brought off in favour of Richard Nartey.
Albion had shouts for a penalty when Boyce squirmed in the box and saw a shot blocked by Omar Beckles with suspicions that it was a hand that prevented the ball from at least getting as far as O'Leary.
Fraser's last shot in added-on time, perhaps symptomatic of the game as a whole, failed to trouble the keeper before referee Swabey brought proceedings to a close.