npower League 2 action from the Pirelli Stadium
Matt Paterson came off the bench to become Albion's hero of the hour as he curled home a sumptuous winner against Torquay United to maintain the Brewers excellent home form and push them back into the play-offs. With Calvin Zola and Billy Kee having been in good form Paterson has had to wait for his chance but he took it emphatically on 84 minutes when he tried his luck from the angle of the penalty area and watched it beat the dive of Michael Poke. It completed a turnaround in fortunes for Albion who had trailled at the break through Ryan Jarvis' close range finish but the game was set up for a grandstand finish when Zola equalised just before the hour mark.
Burton welcomed back skipper Zander Diamond and Anthony O'Connor to their defence after illness and injury respectively. Nathan Stanton returned to the centre of defence alongside Diamond as Marcus Holness and Aaron Webster both dropped to the bench. Adam Drury made his League debut, on loan from Manchester City having made his first appearance for the club in last weeks FA Cup defeat to Leicester City.
Torquay made the early running and had a corner inside the first minute. Kevin Nicholson's delivery was onto the head of central defender Aaron Downes who directed his header goalwards, eventually into the arms of Dean Lyness.
Adam Drury almost made an immediate impression on his home debut with a rising shot from the edge of the area as a scramble in the box found him with the ball at his feet. The young Man City winger was soon involved again with a teasing cross that bounced awkwardly in front of keeper Michael Poke.
The Gulls spurned a great chance on ten minutes as the returning Ryan Jarvis suddenly found himself in acres of space inside the penalty area but with the angle against him he drove into the side netting.
Jarvis was then only inches away from opening the scoring on 16 minutes as Albion failed to deal with a free kick from Nicholson and Rene Howe's flick on fell to the former Walsall striker who someone contrived to flick the ball back across goal and beyond the far post.
Albion weathered a rocky period and Jacques Maghoma was close to gving the Brewers the advantage on 24 minutes when we worked just enough room on the edge of the box to curl an effort towards the top corner that Michael Poke had to turn around the post at full stretch.
The game was already becoming quite stretched and when a Torquay attack at one end was quickly snuffed out Billy Kee was quickly breaking on the Torquay defence, winning a corner from a low shot that took a deflection off a retreating Brian Saah.
Howe was then denied by Lyness as a ball bouncing in the box almost deceived Anthony O'Connor and as Albion tried to take advantage of a free kick it was Zander Diamond at the back post crossing low for Calvin Zola who just failed to scoop the ball beyond Poke as Torquay just about cleared their lines.
The visitors snatched the lead on 43 minutes to the dismay of the Brewers. Nathan Craig it was who swung in a corner beyond the far post. Aaron Downes got up well to head the ball back into the danger area and JARVIS got enough on the ball to turn it beyond Lyness from close range.
It was a blow for the Brewers as Torquay were one of the tightest defences on the road this season and Albion would need to improve in the second half.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-1 Torquay United
Torquay almost doubled their advantage within ninety seconds of the start of the second half. Craig this time delivered in a free kick and Lyness was almost deceived by the flight and had to frantically push the ball over his crossbar.
Albion were struggling to string their moves together but Billy Kee was not far off target on 55 minutes when he linked well with Calvin Zola before shooting from just outside the area.
Albion's equaliser on 59 minutes owed much again to the link up play of Albion's front two. A promising move appeared to have come to an end until Kee rode a challnege and nicked the ball into the path of ZOLA who turned on the ball and blasted it across Poke into the far corner.
Burton quickly had shouts for a penalty when Maghoma appeared to bundled over but it was Torquay who upped their game and began to look the more likely side to score next. Rene Howe, booked minutes earlier for a challenge on Zander Diamond found himself denied by a superb double save from Dean Lyness. Howe burst clear and was denied first by the legs of Albion's keeper and then a fine reflex save as he recovered quickly to block the rebound.
Albion were then inches from taking the lead when a Zola shot looped up and Robbie Weir got there first to volley inches wide of the upright.
Jack Dyer was introduced for the last 20 minutes in place of Adam Drury. At the same time Torquay made their first change with Billy Bodin coming on for Danny Stevens.
Shortly afterwards Albion made a second change as Calvin Zola came off and Matt Paterson got his first action of 2013. The former Southend man made a stunning impact as well despite only making a late appearance. 83 minutes were on the clock when PATERSON picked up the ball up on the angle of the penalty area. He looked up and hit what looked a hopeful effort towards the far top corner but the strike was too good for Poke who grasped at thin air as the ball nestled in the back of the net.
Torquay gave Burton a real scare late on when their own substitute, Bodin, flashed an angled shot just wide of the post but this was Burton's day and a place back inside the top six was Albion's reward.
BURTON: Lyness; O'Connor, Stanton, Diamond, McCrory; Drury, Weir, Bell, Maghoma; Zola, Kee. Substitutes: Atkins, Webster, McGrath, Phillips, Paterson, Holness, Dyer.
TORQUAY: Poke, Oaster, Nicholson, Downes, Saah, Lathrope, Mansell, Jarvis, Howe, Stevens, Craig. Substitutes: Rice, Bodin, MacDonald, Easton, Cruise, Yeoman, Thompson.
Referee: Mr. T.Harrington (Cleveland)
GOALS: Burton - Zola (59), Paterson (84); Torquay - Jarvis (43)