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Report: Brewers defeat Walsall

26 July 2013

Burton Albion were 1-0 winners over Walsall on Friday evening courtesy of an early Rene Howe strike at the Pirelli.

The Brewers made a lively start and were ahead inside two minutes; Chris Hussey delivering a ball from the left to the unmarked Howe who made no mistake with a clinical finish past Richard O' Donnell in the Saddlers goal from 12 yards.

The frenetic opening then gave way to a period of relative calm as both sides looked to suss each other out in the evening sunshine. Whilst the visitors regained composure following the early set-back the Saddlers offered little in terms of clear-cut chances and it was Burton who came close to extending their lead on 18 minutes when a Howe cross narrowly missed both Robbie Weir and Alex MacDonald in the area.

The Brewers continued to be good value for their lead and a Rory Delap long throw on 33 minutes could have resulted in a second; the visitors failing to clear before the ball fell to Robbie Weir who dragged his effort wide of the right-hand post from 25 yards.

Burton continue to press, albeit with few chances, and went into the half-time break with a deserved lead; Brewers' keeper Dean Lyness rarely tested in the opening 45 minutes.

Half-time: Burton 1-0 Walsall

Gary Rowett made three changes at the break with Phil Edwards, Matty Palmer and Jimmy Phillips replacing Delap, Adam Reed and Alex MacDonald with the visitors electing to stick with the starting eleven and the early stages saw the Saddlers get to grips with Burton's physical superiority in the first half.

However it was Burton who could have and perhaps should have extended their advantage on 57 minutes as the impressive Howe flicked the ball expertly to Robbie Weir who found himself one on one only to be denied by O'Donnell.

Moments later it was Walsall's turn to go close. Former Chesterfield man Craig Westcarr finding Milan Lalkovic who fired his effort onto Lyness' right-hand post.

The drama was not over there. Weir getting another bite of the cherry on 63 minutes; his curling effort from 20 yards defeating O'Donnell but not the 'keeper's post.

On 71 minutes the Brewers made their fourth change with Michael Symes replacing Howe; the former Torquay man looking a threat all night and it was Jack Dyer was the next Albion player to enter the fray; replacing Weir on 79.

The visitors were looking threatening in the closing stages as Dean Smith's threw bodies forward in their search for an equaliser but it was nearly game over on 84 when Chris Hussey became the latest player to hit the post; his looping free-kick clipping the top of the crossbar before going out of play.

A final chance came for the visitors with a minute remaining as the lively Lalkovic cut inside the area; however his effort lacked composure and fell high and wide of Lyness' right-hand post.

Shortly after, the final whistle came giving Burton Albion a deserved win over Walsall by a goal to nil.

The Brewers now conclude their pre-season fixtures with a trip to Mickleover Sports on Monday evening; a 7:45pm start at the Raygar Stadium. 

Burton Albion: Lyness, Delap (Edwards 45), Hussey, Sharps, Holness, McCrory, Bell, Weir (Dyer 79), Reed (Palmer 45), MacDonald (Phillips 45), Howe (Symes 71).

Subs: Horton, Knowles, Currie, Doyle, Harness.

Walsall: O'Donnell, Butler, A. Chambers, Mantom, Lalkovic, Westcarr, Downing, Benning, J. Chambers, Flanagan, Morris (Griffiths 87). 

Subs: George, Heath, Roberts.

Attendance: 727

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