BEZ Lubala’s first half brace set Albion on their way to an emphatic 4-1 victory over ten-man Bristol Rovers.
The striker nipped in to equalise after Antony Evans had given Rovers an early lead and had Albion in front with a callm close range finish just before half time.
Albion had to ride a wave of Rovers pressure in the early stages of the second half but once Ryan Woods was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Mark Helm the Brewers seized control back and stunning finishes from Joe Powell and Kwadwo Baah sealed a stunning victory that extended Albion’s unbeaten run to eight games and made it four straight wins in the League.
There was good news and bad news on the injury front for the Brewers. Whilst Helm reported fit after a bout of illness to regain his place in the side with Josh Gordon dropping to the bench. Ciaran Gilligan also returned in the centre of midfield with Mason Bennett also moving to the bench. The bad news came with Sam Hughes missing out with a calf injury that meant a hastened return to action for Jasper Moon. Cole Stockton also made his first appearance on a Pirelli Stadium teamsheet since August as he continued his recovery from injury.
After his success from a corner last week against Lincoln, Powell went for it again early on against Rovers and was mightily close on five minutes as his effort hit the woodwork.
But Rovers hit back quickly to grab the lead on seven minutes. Chris Martin picked out Aaron Collins on the left and his cross picked out EVANS to stoop and head in off the inside of the post.
Albion stayed in the game and got themselves level on 26 minutes. Some neat play around the edge of the Bristol box allowed Hamer to turn sharply and fire in a low cross that was diverted home with LUBALA being credited with the final touch.
And the Albion striker turned the game around completely before the half was done. Helm swung in a cross that was dummied by Oshilaja, opening up the space for LUBALA to turn and guide the ball beyond Matthew Cox at his near post.
HALF TIME: BURTON ALBION 2-1 BRISTOL ROVERS
Rovers made a double change at the break looking to wrestle control of the game back with Sam Finley bolstering the midfield and Brentford loanee Tristan Crama also sent on.
Albion had strong shouts for a penalty in the opening moments of the half when James Gibbons appeared to handle but unseen by referee Chris Pollard.
Moon picked up a nasty looking head injury early on and Rovers looked to capitalise with a spell of heavy pressure that end with Crocombe making an excellent block at his near post to deny former Derby striker Martin just as Moon had retaken his place on the pitch.
Rovers suddenly found themselves down to ten men on 64 minutes when Woods was dismissed for leading with his arm in an aerial collision with Helm.
Albion quickly made a change with the hard-working Gilligan replaced by Bennett.
Finley tested Crocombe with a low shot from outside the box but the Albion keeper was more than equal to it low to his right with the game firmly inside the final twenty minutes.
Albion game themselves a two goal cushion on 81 minutes when POWELL lashed home an absolute screamer from at least 25 yards.
Three minutes later and Albion had a fourth when Lubala turned down the chance to try for a hat-trick to set up BAAH for a rising shot that flew into the net.
ALBION: Crocombe; Hamer, Moon, Sweeney, Seddon; Powell; Gilligan (Bennett, 66). Oshilaja (Harper, 89); Baah (Gordon, 90), Lubala (Stockton, 89), Helm.
Substitutes: Blackman, Walker, Caprice.
GOALS: ALBION – Lubala (26, 43), Powell (81), Baah (84) ; ROVERS – Evans (7)
Referee: Christopher Pollard