npower League 2 action from the Pirelli StadiumMatt Paterson came off the bench to send the Pirelli Stadium into sheer ecstasy as he bagged a stoppage time winner to keep the Brewers promotion push on track against relegation threatened Plymouth Argyle.
The striker had not seen much of the ball after coming on but was in the right place at exactly the right time to poke over the line from close range after former Pligrims defender Damien McCrory had raced the length of the field to win and then take a last ditch corner. Ian Sharps rose highest on the edge of the box to send the ball goalwards and after a scramble inside the six yard box Paterson sent the home crowd wild with his seventh goal of the campaign and what a vital goal it might prove to be.
An unchanged team was the order of the day for the Brewers as they went in search of a result that would guarantee them a minimum of a play-off spot come the end of the regular season in a fortnights time.
There were plenty of acquaintances made for the day as both Damien McCrory and Alex MacDonald lined up against their former Devon employers whilst Guy Branston, Andres Gurrieri and Jason Banton returned to East Staffordshire.
An early corner to the Pilgrims gave Branston the chance to rise higher than Anthony O'Connor and glance a header towards goal but the ball drifted wide of the far post. An early sign that Plymouth were coming to take the game to Albion in their bid to avoid relegation.
It was clear to see that there were going to be a lot of nerves in the game as both sides struggled to make any serious chances of note. Jacques Maghoma had the fans on edge with a teasing run in the twelfth minute but his low shot was scuffed and rolled safely through to Pilgrims keeper Jake Cole.
Burton were beginning to pen Plymouth back into their own half more and a superb ball out to the wing from Billy Kee gave Alex MacDonald the chance to whip in a testing cross. The ball found its way to Robbie Weir in the middle but he couldn't quite contort himself into a position where he could get the ball on target skewing the ball over the bar instead.
Another sublime pass from Kee found Symes running through down the left channel and when he picked out Maghoma the winger was again able to drive in towards goal only to again drill his low shot straight into the arms of Cole.
The first yellow card of the game came on the half hour mark and perhaps surprisingly it was Andres Gurrieri that received it. Damien McCrory was making a break away from the edge of his own penalty area and the Argentine winger unceremoniously brought him down to the displeasure of referee Keith Hill.
Cole had to make something of an unorthodox save from a MacDonald corner as Albion continued to ramp up the pressure as the game progressed towards half time and Ian Sharps at full stretch failed to seriously test the former Barnet stopper.
A flowing move inspired by McCrory and Maghoma presented a chance for Symes but after taking a touch he was closed down and his eventual left foot shot was blocked away for a corner.
Both keepers remained relatively untroubled as the half time whistle went both sides having cancelled each other out by and large.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Plymouth Argyle
It was Plymouth who started the second half the brighter and with Banton looking very lively indeed. The midfielder, voted npower League 2 player of the month for March, swung in a dangerous cross that caused problems for Marcus Holness but Reuben Reid skied the ball over the bar and would have been denied by an offside flag anyway had he put the ball in the back of the net. The winger then drilled a low shot wide of Lyness's left hand upright having been given too much space inside the area.
Lyness then had to make an important stop on 53 minutes as Holness and Sharps got in something of a tangle allowing Joe Bryan to shot low at the Albion stopper.
Guy Branston then planted a header onto the roof of the net as the Pilgrims tried to profit from the resulting corner but it was Albion who started to impose themselves on the game again as Billy Kee turned on the edge of the area to see a shot blocked and when Symes got his head to a deep corner from the left it provided a chance at the near post for Kee who just gothis head to the ball before Cole could get there only to see the ball loop over the bar.
Symes then picked out MacDonald with a superb pass inside the full back but having to take the chance first time he couldn't quite get a good enough connection with Cole relieved to see the ball go wide.
There was concern for Albion on 65 minutes as Robbie Weir went down in pain but after treatment he was able to gingerly come back onto the pitch. Whilst waiting to come back on Weir could only watch as Banton lifted a free kick into the Burton area the ball came down for Reuben Reid who shaped to shoot but was denied by an excellent block from Lee Bell.
Alex MacDonald and Lee Bell both picked up yellow cards as their frustration over conceding free kicks got the better of them as Plymouth began to pile on some pressure.
Burton fans were on their feet with a quarter of an hour to go as Symes headed home Lee Bell's free kick but referee Hill cut short the celebrations as he spotted a push from Symes as he headed home.
Albion made a double change with just over ten minutes to go with Matt Paterson and Adam Drury replacing Symes and MacDonald. There were hearts in Albion mouths on 81 minutes as Joe Bryan went to ground under a Robbie Weir challenge on the edge of the box but when referee Hill pulled out his yellow card it was shown to Bryan rather than Weir.
Paris Coan-Hall, a late substitute for the Pilgrims, had a chance to be a hero for the visitors as they launched a late break forwards and in the closing moments Albion threw on Aaron Webster in place of Billy Kee to try and break the deadlock.
However it was Albion's substitute Matt PATERSON who sent the Pirelli into delirium deep into stoppage time. A late surging run from Damien McCrory won a corner and when Ian Sharps thundered a header into the six yard box a scramble ensured and the ball arrived with the former Southampton striker to poke home from close range to the delight of all the Burton fans in the ground.
BURTON: Lyness; O'Connor, Holness, Sharps, McCrory; MacDonald, Bell, Weir, Maghoma; Kee, Symes. Substitutes: Webster, Diamond,Tomlinson, Phillips, Paterson, Dyer, Drury.
PLYMOUTH: Cole, Berry, Blanchard, Branston, Young, Bhasera, Nelson, Bryan, Banton, Reid, Gurrieri. Substitutes: Cowan-Hall, Chadwick, Gilmartin, Lecointe, Charles, Harvey.
Referee: Mr. K.Hill (Hertfordshire)
GOALS: Burton - Paterson (90+4)