ALBION slipped to a 2-0 defeat against a lively Everton U21 side as their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages with a game to spare were brushed aside.
Everton scored in each half with Ellis Simms racing through early on to put the Toffees ahead although there was more than a hint of offside asa he pounced to fire home and after a spell of pressure in the second half Antony Evans poached a rebound to put the game beyond doubt for David Unsworth's men.
Stephen Bywater was handed a first start of the season and there was also a start for Lloyd Dyer with David Templeton and Reece Hutchinson also getting the nod from the outset.
Albion made a bright start but paid the price for some midfield passing that was far too casual and a through ball picked out the run of SIMMS who burst through and slotted home on six minutes.
And Simms would have been in again on ten minutes when a free kick was played through midfield, Antony Evans sliding the striker in only for Daniel to be on hand to block smartly inside the box.
Bywater was called into action on the quarter of an hour mark when some slick passing from the Everton youngsters carved out an opening for Anthony Gordon, the midfielder forcing the Albion keeper into a good save low to his right.
Albion began to grow into the game and Dyer almost caught out Toffees keeper Harry Tyrer with a shot that deflected up off skipper Morgan Feeney and almost looped over the keeper. Liam Boyce then worked room on the edge of the box for a shot that was well held by the keeper before Hutchinson drove a teasing cross through the six yard box just ahead of the run of Ryan Edwards who just failed to get a touch to it.
Simms really should have had his second of the night on 33 minutes, Gordon's cross deflecting to him at the back post where he forced a good save from Bywater before Daniel cleared off the line when the striker tried to backheel in the rebound.
Hutchinson forced Tyrer into a save at his near post before Lucas Akins was afforded time to pick out a right wing cross that Edwards met but was unable to guide inside the post.
The half finished with Albion pushing for an equaliser but a scramble in the box just wouldnt quite go their way.
Half time Burton Albion 0-1 Everton U21
Both sides had chances early in the second period. Boyce fired wide from an angled shot before Simms volleyed over when given too much space at a corner before Joe Sbarra drilled in a low cross that Harry Tyrer smothered before Boyce could get on the end of it.
Gordon's runs from deep were causing problems for the Brewers and he whipped a shot across goal but it was merely a warning shot for what was to come a minute later. The midfielder fired low towards the bottom corner and although Bywater got down well to push the ball away EVANS was there to bag the rebound.
Albion made a triple change just after the hour mark, Scott Fraser, Richard Nartey and Oliver Sarkic sent on to replace Dyer, Templeton and Daniel which saw a switch to more of a 3-4-1-2 formation.
Boyce and Hutchinson both failed to find the target as Albion pushed for the goal that would get them back in the contest. Hutchinson was getting forward well on the left and his low cross was scooped over as Sbarra just lost his footing at the vital moment inside the final five minutes.