npower League 2 action from the Pirelli StadiumJacques Maghoma's third minute penalty was all that seperated the Brewers from the Bees on a slightly frustrating afternoon at the Pirelli Stadium. Despite being near the bottom of the League 2 table, Barnet had recently secured noteable away wins at Rotherham and Gillingham and will be wondering how they left Burton without a point.
Maghoma struck early on having been taken down inside the penalty area by former Albion triallise Barry Fuller and stepped up to calmly convert the self won spot kick. Far from opening the floodgates it was a battle then as the visitors dominated for long spells but Albion showed plenty of grit and determination, characteristics they will need in abundance if they are to maintain a play-off push, and ground out a clean sheet and a much needed three points.
The Brewers gave a debut to Ian Sharps, the on loan defender from Rotherham United, and also recalled goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson to the starting line-up as they looked to consolidate their home record and push further up the League 2 table.
Barnet had to make do without their influential player-coach, Edgar Davids, who remained at home ill, leaving the team in the hands of his backroom team although his presence on the field would also be missed for the Bees.
Albion were almost off to a flyer as a miscued clearance from Graham Stack in the Barnet goal landed at the feet of Billy Kee but he was unable to convert the loose ball. However it was not to prove a decisive miss as Albion took the lead in just the third minute. A long clearance from Stuart Tomlinson was flicked on by Calzin Zola into the path of Jacques MAGHOMA. The winger surged into the area and then had his legs taken from under him by Barry Fuller with referee Oli Langford pointing straight to the spot. The former Spurs trainee dusted himself down and comfortably sent Stak the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Barnet almost produced an immediate response as John Oster lifted in a curling free kick and giant defender Andy Iro forced Tomlinson to save low to his left from a powerful downward header.
Ricky Holmes, a hat-trick hero in the reverse fixture at Underhill, was only able to drive a shot wide from the edge of the area as Ian Sharps did enough to put him off and the new loan signing also got an important foot in as Ibra Sekajja threatend to dart into the area in the 14th minute.
The visitors continued to play the ball about with confidence with Holmes giving Anthony O'Connor in particular a difficult time down the Barnet left.
After soaking up a spell of Barnet pressure Albion almost stung the Bees with a second goal on 28 minutes. Damien McCrory's long ball forward found Kee and he was able to turn Iro before curling a low shot wide of the far post with Stack a spectator.
Holmes continued to be the most potent threat for the visitors and they were left wondering how they hadnt equalised on 35 minutes as the tricky winger danced his way into the area and when he went down inside the area the ball fell kindly for Sekajja who wastefully lashed the ball well off target.
Albion's play was somewhat ponderous and too many passes were going astray but Albion still got through to half time with their lead in tact but there was no doubt that they would have to play much better in the second period to secure the points.
Half time: Burton Albion 1-0 Barnet
Albion were immediately on the attack at the start of the second half and a wickedly teasing cross from McCrory just eluded both Kee and Zola as they looked to pounce with Iro and Stack between them doing enough to clear the danger.
Barnet again failed to make the most of their opportunities when they were handed a good chance as Albion dithered at the back. Former Albion loanee Mark Byrne picked the pocket of Anthony O'Connor and then crossed for an unmarked Sekajja who wastefully headed well over the crossbar.
Drury, looking lively after the break, almost conjured up a second for the Brewers just before the hour mark when he cleverly nutmegged his man and sent in a teasing cross that Billy Kee chested towards Stack at his near post.
Another Burton chance went begging in the 63rd minute as Robbie Weir burst through before trying to find Kee. It looked like the chance had gone until the ball fell kindly for Calvin Zola who inexplicably dragged his shot just wide of the upright.
Albion were the first to make a change and it came in the form of Matt Paterson replacing Billy Kee. The striker was soon trying to make his presence felt but in space on the edge of the box he was not given the chance to test the keeper as Maghoma decided to go it alone inside the box.
Zola was denied by the fingertips of Stack as Burton threatened to put the game to bed and from the resulting corner Sharps could have grabbed his first Burton goal but headed just wide of the post.
Worryingly though chances still kept coming for Barnet and substitute Harry Crawford, on for his debut for the Bees could have scored with his first touch as Burton's defence went AWOL from a cross and after Sekajja had completely missed his kick the former Southend striker drilled a low effort wide of the post.
Albion's second change saw Paterson left as the lone frontman as Jack Dyer was brought on to shore up the midfield in place of Calvin Zola.
Barnet decided they were going to throw Iro further up the pitch and they brought on Clovis Kamdjo in place of winger Andy Yiadom to facilitate the change.
Despite a number of balls into the Albion box, a frustrating afternoon for the visitors was epitomised at the end when goalkeeper Stack came forward for a late free kick which ended up being played straight down the side of the penalty area and out for a goal kick.
the final whistle went moments later and Albion were able to savour a fifth straight home win to consolidate their play-off push.
BURTON: Tomlinson; O'Connor, Diamond, Sharps. McCrory; Drury, Bell, Weir, Maghoma; Zola, Kee. Substitutes: Webster, Stanton, McGrath, Lyness, Phillips, Paterson, Dyer.
BARNET: Stack, Fuller, Byrne, Holmes, Yiadom, Weston, Johnson, Stephens, Oster, Iro, Sekajja. Substitutes: Brown, Kamdjo, Lee, Gambin, Cowler, Holwijn, Crawford.
Referee: Mr. O.Langford (W.Midlands)
GOALS: Burton - Maghoma (3 pen)