MASON Bennett and Deji Oshilaja grabbed the goals as Albion made a winning start to their EFL Trophy campaign with a 2-0 victory over Everton Under-21s.
Playing some delightful football in the first half the Brewers were two-nil up inside twenty minutes as Bennett curled a superb effort into the top corner on eight minutes and skipper Oshilaja headed home on twenty minutes.
Albion showed five changes from Saturday’s game against Fleetwood as they took their first steps in this season’s competition.
Jamal Blackman returned in goal whilst Ryan Sweeney continued in place of Jasper Moon having replaced the former Barnsley man in Saturday’s game. The three other changes all came at the top end of the pitch with Josh Walker, Josh Gordon and Mason Bennett all returning.
After a promising opening to the game Albion were rewarded with a goal on eight minutes. Mark Helm’s burst into the box set up a chance for Walker and when his shot was charged down the ball sat up nicely for BENNETT who curled it into the top corner off the outside of his boot.
When Bennett’s powerfully hit cross was blocked on the edge of the area by an Everton arm it offered a promising set piece situation. Powell turned down the opportunity to go for goal himself, instead playing the ball across for Helm to strike a low effort just wide.
Josh Gordon forced a good save from Billy Crellin before Albion doubled their lead on the twenty-minute mark. Steve Seddon had time to look up and curl in a peach of a cross that OSHILAJA rose to head back across goal, wrong footing Crellin as it dropped in.
Little had been seen of Everton in an attacking sense, but they threatened on twenty-eight minutes when a corner routine enabled Mackenzie Hunt to stroll forwards and hit a first time effort just wide from the edge of the box.
The Toffee’s sent agonisingly close to getting one back on the stroke of half time when Martin Sherif got in a strong header towards the bottom corner but Blackman got down well to push the ball away.
HALF TIME: BURTON ALBION 2-0 EVERTON U21s
Albion made a couple of changes for the second half as Rekeem Harper and Kwadwo Baah replaced Joe Powell and Mason Bennett.
Everton started the second half quite brightly and Kaka Kouyate was guilty of a bad miss three minutes in when, having shrugged off the challenge of Sweeney, he fired wastefully wide of the goal.
Baah quickly started to cause problems operating on the left-hand side.
Sam Hughes headed home on 54 minutes, but referee Scott Tallis paused for a moment before ruling it out having spotted a slight nudge on the goalkeeper as he failed to collect.
Kouyate forced a save from Blackman, with his legs, as the second half reached the midway point.
Another double change from Albion saw Ciaran Gilligan and Kegs Chauke introduced for the final twenty or so minutes of the game with Helm and Oshilaja making way.
The youngsters both spurned chances to add a third for Albion as the game headed for the closing stages, Gilligan not quite able to fashion a shot with Crellin out of position and when the ball was eventually worked to Chauke his low shot went just wide.
There was still time before the end for Academy graduate Will Tamen to make his senior debut replacing Sam Hughes at the heart of the defence, the youngster also sporting the captains armband for the remainder of the game.
ALBION: Blackman; Hamer, Hughes (Tamen, 85), Sweeney, Seddon; Oshilaja (Gilligan, 72), Powell (Harper, 46), Helm (Chauke, 72); Bennett (Baah, 46), Gordon, Walker.
Substitutes: Crocombe, Caprice.
GOALS: ALBION – Bennett (8), Oshilaja (20)
Referee: Scott Tallis