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14 December 2013

Burton Albion 1-1 York City

In blustery and difficult conditions Burton Albion had to settle for a point to keep them in sixth place in Skybet League 2. York City had the fortune to take the lead through Shane Cansdell-Sherriff's unfortunate own goal but were pegged back by Albion's striker in form, Billy Kee, who in scoring equalled Shaun Harrad's record of 31 Football League goals for the club. Kee latched onto Damien McCrory's ball to get goalside of his man and smash a low shot into the net to restore parity and ultimately secure a point for the Brewers.

Leading scorer Adam McGurk failed a fitness test after being knocked unconscious in the FA Cup tie at Fleetwood Town last weekend. Kee was rewarded for his stoppage time equaliser against the Cod Army by returning to the team in place of McGurk. That was the only change to the starting line-up although there was a slight surprise with Michael Symes returning to the bench after a groin injury picked up at Dagenham & Redbridge.

A fast paced start to the game resulted in a couple of early chances for the visitors and an early corner resulted from Lewis Montrose's deflected shot over the bar. The delivery in from the right was poor and allowed Albion to clear comfortably at the near post.

Lanre Oyebanjo was quickly proving himself to be a man to watch with some speedy runs down the right side of midfield for the visitors but it was Albion who carved out an excellent chance in the fourteenth minute, Billy Kee finding Robbie Weir through the middle with a slide rule pass but the former York loanee tried a first time shot that was straight at keeper Aaron McCarey.

There was concern in the Albion ranks with York's next attack moments later with Dean Lyness requiring treatment after taking a blow as he cut out a cross in from the right and was caught by Wes Fletcher attempting to get on the end of the ball into the middle.

Fletcher, an ex-Burnley team mate of Alex MacDonald, tried his luck from 25 yards on 23 minutes with Lyness by now back up and running after his running repairs.

MacDonald himself had a shot at goal as Chris Hussey was brought down 30 yards out but the free kick although well hit was just wide of the target allowing McCarey to watch it go safely away from danger.

Burton were close again just before the half hour as another set piece was sent into the box and Ian Sharps header sent the ball into the six yard box where Rene Howe turned to try and steer the ball home but was just unable to make the required contact.

The first yellow card of the afternoon came out on 35 minutes and was directed at York skipper David McGurk. There was nothing subtle about the challenge on Chris Hussey as he raided down the right with a body check stopping him in his tracks.

It really should have been the opening goal for Albion on 39 minutes. Some great work on the left from MacDonald enabled him to get to the edge of the box and drive in a low cross that inexplicably evaded Howe who looked a cert to score inside the six yard box.

Chris Hussey hooked a low shot towards goal as half time loomed but it didnt seriously trouble McCarey who despite being the busier keeper had not been seriously tested during a frustration first half for Albion.

Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 York City

Billy Kee's snap shot seconds after the break signalled Albions intent to push on for the opening goal. Lyness did well to collect a teasing corner at the second attempt as York also started the half brightly and the visitors were close again when Edwards made a superb interception to deny Fletcher a clear shot on goal with the ball quickly whipped back in from the throw causing Lyness problems and Damien McCrory forced to bravely head clear.

Elliott Whitehouse, on loan from Sheffield United, headed over from a Josh Carson cross as the Minstermen continued to press but it was Rene Howe who almost grabbed the Brewers the lead on the hour mark as Albion broke menacingly. McCrory's lashed clearance allowed Howe to grab possession and race towards goal but from the edge of the box his left foot shot skidded just wide of the far post.

It proved to be a costly miss as Albion were behind on 63 minutes. Substitute Michael Coulson had been brought on to add some trickery to the left hand side of York's midfield and the former Scarborough and Grimsby man delivered a teasing cross in that skidded off the head of Shane CANSDELL-SHERRIFF to deceive Lyness and land in the back of the net.

Albion's response was to change things and it was Matty Palmer asked to come on and turn things around as he replaced Chris Hussey. The Brewers were only behind for seven minutes. Damien McCrory hooked the ball hopefully forward and Billy KEE won his battle with Keith Lowe on the edge of the area to get himself twelve yards out before drilling a low shot inside McCarey's near post.

Alex MacDonald's corner moments later gave Weir a chance to head home but his run from deep saw him head down into the ground and over the crossbar.

Albion had their tails up now and a delightful angled ball from Palmer seemed to be heading into Howe's path until Oyebanjo got a crucial header in to prevent him setting himself for a first time volley at goal.

MacDonald went into referee Graham Horwood's notebook on 81 minutes as he went to ground all too easily on the edge of the box and as York piled on the pressure with successive corners it took a Robbie Weir header by his own post to prevent the visitors from re-taking the lead.

Jimmy Phillips came on for MacDonald with seven minutes remaining as Burton went looking for a winner themselves. Phillips scuffed a late chance wide as Matty Palmer's corner was helped goalwards firstly by Ian Sharps header and Robbie Weir's challenge that forced a loose ball.

Only a last ditch challenge from Sharps in the last seconds of stoppage time prevented a final chance for the Minstermen and it was left all square at the end of a hard fought game. Perhaps not surprising given York's record extending to six draws in the last eight league games.

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