SCOTT Fraser's sweetly struck free kick secured a precious point for ten-man Albion as they came from behind to secure a draw with League One strugglers Southend United
Already behind to Stephen McLaughlin's 21st minute header, Albion had to battle for almost an hour with ten men after centre half John-Joe O'Toole was given his marching orders for his part in an altercation with United striker Tom Hopper.
But despite their numerical disadvantage Albion still looked the more likely side and when Fraser levelled things up foiur minutes after the break it looked set for a grandstand finish from Nigel Clough's side but a winner just would not come for them.
Albion's starting eleven showed two changes to the side that made it through Saturday's FA Cup second round tie at Oldham Athletic. Kieran Wallace got given a rest after being a virtual ever-present in recent weeks whilst Joe Sbarra also dropped to the bench. Scott Fraser returned to the centre of midfield in place of the Brewers Academy product whilst Richard Nartey came back in after going off against Sunderland a week ago to resume at right back.
Albion began with a sustained period of pressure on the Southend goal looking to prey on any lack of defensive confidence amongst the visiting defence. An early goal failed to materialise and the first real attempt on goal from a Brewers perspective came from David Templeton ten minutes in after a trademark run infield but uinleashing his shot wide of the target.
But Southend were determined tompose a threat at the other end and they actually came close a quarter of an hour in when Stephen McLaughlin headed down a Brandon Goodship cross only for Kieran O'Hara to palm the ball onto the face of the crossbar before John-Joe O'Toole cleared the danger.
McLAUGHLIN only had a few more minutes to wait before he got his goal though, rising highest in the box to head emphatically home from Isaac Hutchinson's corner.
Templeton tried to wriggle his way through on the edge of the box on the half hour until he appeared to be brought down but referee Darren Drysdale was not interested in awarding anything to the Brewers winger as Southend quickly countered up the other end with O'Toole again the man to clear the danger.
Albion then found their night going from bad to worse on 33 minutes when Drysdale produced a red card for O'Toole after a clash with Tom Hopper who ended up on the deck having originally fouled the Burton centre-back.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-1 Southend United
Four minutes after the break and Albion were back on level terms to ease any early nerves after the frustrations of the first half. Boyce was brought down just outside the box to earn visiting skipper Tim Dieng a yellow card. It looked for all the world as if Templeton was going to curl a right footer but keeper Nathan Bishop was on his heels as FRASER curled a n inch perfect left footer into the far corner of the net.
Albion took great heart from the equaliser and showed little signs of being at a player disadvantage, none more so thatn when Templeton rattled the crossbar with a curling effort on 59 minutes with Bishop beaten.
And Albion were close again when some slick passing got Colin Daniel in down the left and as Ryan Edwards looked too strike at the near post it was left back Nathan Ralph with a last ditch clearance to deny the Australian.
Templeton plugged away until the 80th minute when he was replaced by Reece Hutchinson who slotted straight in on the left hand side of midfield.
Kieran Wallace and Joe Sbarra were also introduced late on as Albion pushed for a winner but a frustrating evening could not find a goal that would have capped a fine comeback.