ALBION fell to defeat for the second successive away league game as Northampton Town took all the points from a 2-0 win at Sixfields.
The Brewers struggled to get going for long periods of the game and the match as a whole had a lacklustre feel to it until Marc Leonard fired home a long-range effort to get the home team going nine minutes into the second half with leading scorer Sam Hoskins sealing the win for the Cobblers twelve minutes from time.
After the goalless stalemate at Port Vale in the FA Cup Brewers boss Dino Maamria saw fit to make just the one change to his side for the trip to Sixfields. Recovered from his enforced concussion break and having played in the Football League Trophy defeat at Doncaster in midweek, Steve Seddon was restored at left back as Jake Caprice dropped to the bench and Tom Hamer switched back to right back.
The Brewers made a bright start with Bez Lubala flashing a header across goal before Joe Powell lined up a free kick opportunity on nine minutes but curled his effort just over the top.
Northampton quickly settled and skipper Aaron McGowan fired over the top after good work from Kieron Bowie on the edge of the Burton box.
Mark Helm spotted a chance to test keeper Max Thompson when a Tom Hamer long throw was only cleared as far as the edge of the box but his effort took a nick off a defender which made it easy for the Cobblers keeper to drop onto the ball.
Powell then picked up a yellow card on 25 minutes for a challenge on Marc Leonard.
In a half devoid of much in the way of serious goalmouth action it took until the final minute of the half before Walker connected with a Carayol cross from the right and his header dropped just wide of Thompson’s post.
HALF. TIME: NORTHAMPTON TOWN 0-0 BURTON ALBION
An early second half scramble inside the Town box after a burst of pace from Hamer gave hope for a brighter second period but Lubala was crowded out in the centre as he tried to get a shot away.
Almost from nowhere Town conjured a goal when LEONARD took a chance from 25 yards and his rising shot beat Crocombe in his top corner.
Within a couple of minutes Albion had turned to Cole Stockton to try and pep up the attack as Carayol was taken out of the action.
As Albion pushed for an equaliser they almost got caught on the break, Mitch Pinnock leading the counterattack and the midfielder was in the middle to get a head to the ball to force Crocombe to claw the ball away.
Leonard forced Crocombe into a smart save at his near post as the home side looked to put the game out of Albion’s reach.
Albion looked to get back on the front foot and Lubala tried an ambitious angled drive that Thompson had to clutch under his crossbar at the second attempt as the half headed towards the midway point.
As the game became more stretched, Crocombe was called on again to deny Leonard after a rapid break down the Northampton left.
The hosts maintained the pressure from the resulting corner and they were rewarded on 78 minutes when HOSKINS found space to fire unerringly into the corner.
Albion had to throw caution to the wind and Thompson made an excellent block to deny Stockton after Seddon had found himself with the chance to charge into the penalty area. Oshilaja was sacrificed on 84 minutes for Mason Bennett as time began to run out for the Brewers to turn the game around.
Crocombe prevented it from becoming three late on with an excellent full length save to deny Pinnock from a 25-yard free kick which was headed for the top corner.
Much as Albion threw themselves forward during eight added minutes nothing would fall their way on another disappointing day on the road.
ALBION: Crocombe; Hamer, Moon, Sweeney, Seddon; Powell; Walker, Oshilaja (Bennett, 84), Helm, Carayol (Stockton, 57); Lubala.
Substitutes: Blackman, Harper, Gordon, Caprice, Gilligan.
GOALS: NORTHAMPTON – Leonard (54), Hoskins (78)
Referee: Scott Jackson
Attendance: 6,640 (338 away)