npower League 2 action from the Pirelli StadiumA stunning night to kick off the new season at the Pirelli Stadium as the Brewers brushed AFC Wimbledon aside with relative ease in an eight goal thriller running out 6-2 winners with six different players on the scoresheet in the first home game of the season.
If scoring goals from different areas of the team had been a problem in the past then maybe Gary Rowett has recruited well to solve that little problem. Cleveland Taylor got his second in three games to set the ball rolling and Billy Kee, Jacques Maghoma and Justin Richards all notched their first of the season in a breath taking first half. To their credit Albion refused to take their foot off the gas in the second half and both Robbie Weir and Zander Diamond scored on their home league debuts to have Albion 6-0 up with twenty minutes to go.
Just when it looked like a record Football League victory might be in the offing Albion conceded twice in a minute late on as Wimbledon commendably refused to give in.
Following Saturday's reversal at Rotherham there were just two changes as Lee Bell served his suspension allowing Jack Dyer to shake off an ankle knock to make his first start of the season and there was a change in attack as Justin Richards replaced Adi Yussuf in the starting line-up.
After Jack Midson put an early header straight into the arms of Ross Atkins Albion picked up their attacking game and a teasing cross from Anthony O'Connor was only just over the head of Richards making a well timed run into the penalty area.
Billy Kee almost had the Brewers in front in the sixth minute as he curled a shot from just inside the box against the upright but the Brewers were ahead two minutes later in superb style. Cleveland TAYLOR picked up the ball on the right just inside the Wimbledon half and burst forward to the angle of the penalty area before smashing an unstoppable angled shot across the goalkeeper Seb Brown and inside the far post.
Five minutes later and it was 2-0 as Billy KEE got off and running for the season. Louis Harris was penalised for a high foot on Jack Dyer and from twenty five yards out KEE stepped up and with the aid of a deflection off the wall beat Brown.
A minute later and Burton were three to the good. Kee superbly sent Jacques Maghoma away down the left and when his teasing cross was cut out it looked like the chance was gone but Justin Richards picked up on the loose ball and fired goalwards. The shot was blocked but fell nicely for MAGHOMA to smash home the loose ball.
With Wimbledon at sixes and sevens at the back Albion exposed the visitors again on 27 minutes to make it 4-0. Taylor again was the danger man with a surging run into the box and when his show was parried by Brown the ball fell for Justin RICHARDS who turned on the ball and fired it back past a stranded Brown.
Robbie Weir was clearly keen to get in on the goalscoring act following a productive pre-season in front of goal but he watched as his header bounced over the cross bar from a Jack Dyer corner. The midfielder also let fly from twenty five yards but Brown was able to watch the shot go wide of his right hand post.
Wimbledon almost had a goal back in the 44th minute as Jack Midson picked the ball up twenty five yards from goal but Albion were relieved to see the ball loop up off Zander Diamond and over Ross Atkins' crossbar. Damien McCrory also had to produce a timely far post header to safety as Midson evaded his marker before crossing into the danger area. A flurry of corners at the end of the half gave the visitors a glimmer of hope but Albion defended them resolutely to keep their lead in tact at the interval.
Half time: Burton Albion 4-0 AFC Wimbledon
Wimbledon made a triple change at the break to try and inspire a change of fortunes but it was Albion who came out of the traps quickly with Maghoma not far away with a header and Kee trying a curling effort from the angle of the box but putting his effort wide of the far post.
Ross Atkins was forced into a save in the 51st minute and it was a nervy moment as Sammy Moore's long range shot seemed to slip through the fingers of the Albion stopper but he got enough on it to make sure it went over the crossbar.
Sweeping the play quickly down to the other end the Brewers went 5-0 up in the 53rd minute. Maghoma burst away from Angus MacDonald to the edge of the box before picking out Robbie WEIR stationed just outside the penalty area and the midfielder opened his Burton account with a rasping drive into the top corner of the net.
Wimbledon to their credit refused to give up and Atkins had to drop smartly on a ball into the area that Midson got the faintest of flicks on as Albion looked for an offside flag which didnt come. Albion then made their first change on 64 minutes as Richards was replaced by Adi Yussuf, keen to add to his opening day goal.
Just when Albion thought it could not get any better they made it 6-0 in the 68th minute and it was yet another different scorer that brought up the half dozen. Albion won a corner and when Jack Dyer swung the ball over from the left there was only one place the ball was going when Zander DIAMOND timed his run to perfection to thunder home a powerful header from eight yards out.
Wimbledon launched a mini recovery late on as they grabbed two goals in as many minutes to deny Albion a clean sheet. Sammy Moore showed persistence down the right hand side before crossing low for substitute Byron HARRISON to fire in and defender Pim BALKESTEIN headed powerfully home from a corner a minute later.
As the heavens opened Midson squandered a good chance with the ball sticking under his feet with only Atkins to beat adding to his misery coming moments after he picked up the only yellow card of the night for a foul on Diamond.
Albion though were thoroughly satisfied with their night's work as they continued their record of not losing their opening home League game in fine style.
BURTON: Atkins; O'Connor, Stanton, Diamond, McCrory; Taylor (C.Palmer, 69), Weir, Dyer, Maghoma; Richards (Yussuf, 64), Kee (Paterson, 76). Substitutes: Corbett, Webster, M.Palmer, Lyness.
WIMBLEDON: Brown, Cummings (Fenlon, 46), Harris (Harrison, 46), Balkestein, Mitchel-King, Long, S.Moore, Midson, L.Moore, MacDonald, Kiernan (Yussuff, 46). Substitutes: Jolley, Merrifield, Strutton, Jaimez-Ruiz.
Referee: Mr. D.Bond (Lancashire)
GOALS: Albion - Taylor (8), Kee (13), Maghoma (14), Richards (27), Weir (53), Diamond (68); WIMBLEDON - Harrison (79), Balkestein (80)