npower League 2 action from the Pirelli StadiumJacques Maghoma's sixteenth and seventeenth goals of the campaign ensured that Burton Albion returned to third place in the npower League 2 table after a nervy return to the Pirelli Stadium for the Brewers. Albion's four game run without a win was thankfully brought to an end as their leading scorer brought the second half to life with two clinical finishes to ensure Albion took points off Wycombe for the first time in four Football League meetings.
After a first half full of endeavour from the Brewers they went off still level as a lack of composure in front of goal left them rueing the few clear chances that fell their way. Once Maghoma had opened the scoring four minutes after the break, capitalising on a slip by a defender from Dean Lyness' long clearance Albion's confidence flooded back and a second on 68 minutes after a surging run through the middle made sure the points were safe.
Gary Rowett made four changes for this vital League 2 clash as they looked to get their promotion push back on track. Robbie Weir returned after suspension to replace Jack Dyer in central midfield. Stuart Tomlinson and skipper Zander Diamond paid the price for the Brewers conceding ten goals in the last two games as Dean Lyness and Marcus Holness were drafted back into the team. Up front Billy Kee came back into the side alongside Michael Symes.
Whatever had been said in the aftermath of Friday's capitulation at Port Vale seemed to have the desired effect as Albion set about their task of getting back to winning ways. The Brewers were on the front foot very early on and looked very lively in attack. Probing in an around the edge of the area they searched for chances but Neil Ingram in the Wycombe goal remained relatively untroubled.
The first clear chance fell Albion's way in the 16th minute as Jacques Maghoma broke forward and played in Robbie Weir. The returning midfielder checked back onto his right foot and let fly but was denied by an excellent block from Chairboys skipper Dave Winfield.
Albion were finding more of their fluency and another chance came their way as Michael Symes flicked the ball out to Alex MacDonald and when the Burnley loanee returned the ball back to him his curling shot went over the angle of the far post and crossbar.
Ingram was pleased to keep his goal in tact on 26 minutes when Albion had the chance to test him with a set piece. Symes was unceremoniously bundled off the ball just outside the area and although Maghoma's opiginal shot cannoned back off the wall it came back invitingly to him to drive a low shot back towards goal that the young Wycombe stopper got his body behind to smother.
Maghoma was starting to look more and more influential as the half wore on and on 33 minutes he teased his way into the box but his low driven shot was just beyond the far post and less than a minute later a superb cross from Anthony O'Connor was headed down at the back post by Symes but Billy Kee was just unable to get a vital touch to it in the six yard box.
Weir and Maghoma both converged on a Symes downward header on 38 minutes but the eventual shot took as deflection off a defender to give Albion just a corner.
Wycombe chances were relatively rare in the first half but player-manager Gareth Ainsworth got one on target on 39 minutes but his twenty five yarder was straight at Dean Lyness.
Joel Grant had room to drive a low cross through the six yard box in a rare moment of concern for the Brewers but the half ended with Michael Symes spooning a half decent chance over the crossbar in stoppage time.
Half time: Burton Albion 0 - 0 Wycombe Wanderers
It took Albion just four minutes of the second half to make their first half superiority count for something. An excellent long ball forward from Lyness was flicked on by Billy Kee and when defender Michael Harriman made an absolute hash of his attempted clearance it was MAGHOMA that surged in and finished with a driven low effort beyond Ingram.
With their tails up it was almost two within as many minutes as Kee made room for a trademark curling effort from the edge of the box but Ingram was equal to it to palm it away from danger. A flurry of corners followed and when the ball fell to the edge of the area it was Marcus Holness who ran on it to drive it over the crossbar.
Maghoma almost turned provider on 58 minutes when another probing run saw him check back before laying the ball back into the path of Symes. With nobody closing him down experience front man took a touch but then disappointingly dragged his shot wide of the post.
Albion had two shouts for penalties in quick succession just after the hour mark. Symes went to ground as he shaped to shoot and a shot from Alex MacDonald appeared to strike a Wycombe hand but although referee Tim Robinson played on the ball came for Kee who scuffed a shot into the waiting arms of Ingram.
Albion went two up on 68 minutes to put clear daylight between the two sides. Harriman had another howler as his pass was intercepted by MAGHOMA and with supreme confidence he surged past the last defender before sliding the ball beyond the keeper.
Anthony O'Connor was denied by a block in the Wycombe area as Albion looked for a third and Symes was unlucky to see a curling effort go the wrong side of the post on 73 minutes as the striker contibued to have no luck in front of goal.
Maghoma was withdrawn shortly after to protect the Brewers prize asset as he looked to just be struggling with a knock. Jimmy Phillips took up the left wing role. Charles Dunne landed a header on the roof of the net after a free kick was curled into the area.
Another Burton substitution on 85 minutes saw Matt Paterson replace Michael Symes for the remainder of the game. Wycombe almost profited from a bizarre late chance as a cross into the area was lashed away by Ian Sharps, right against team mate Robbie Weir with the ball careering back towards goal but wide of the target to the relief of Sharps, Weir and keeper Lyness.
BURTON: Lyness; O'Connor, Sharps, Holness, McCrory; MacDonald, Bell, Weir, Maghoma; Kee, Symes. Substitutes: Webster, Diamond, Tomlinson, Phillips, Paterson, Dyer, Drury.
WYCOMBE: Ingram, Winfield, Ainsworth, Spring, Wood, Grant, Dunne, Kuffour, Harriman, Scowen, Doherty. Substitutes: Johnson, McCoy, Harrison, Kewley-Graham, Kretzschmar, Morias, Taylor.
Referee: Mr. T.Robinson (West Sussex)
GOALS: Albion - Maghoma (49, 68)