npower League 2 action from The London Borough Of Barking & Dagenham StadiumIt could have been better but a 1-1 draw away at Dagenham & Redbridge keeps Albion firmly in the automatic promotion places with two home games to come. Lee Bell's 34th minute opener had the Brewers in position to grab a second away win of the week but Josh Scott's solo effort six minutes into the second half brought the Daggers level with neither side able to create sufficient quality in a scrappy second half to provide a winner.
Looking to consolidate their place in the automatic promotion places, the Brewers showed two changes to the side that ground out a fifth away victory of the season. npower League 2 player of the month for February Jacques Maghoma came through a fitness test to resume his place in the side on the left side of midfield with Alex MacDonald reverting to the right. Michael Symes meanwhile, failed a fitness test on his groin and that enabled Billy Kee to return to action alongside Calvin Zola in attack.
Burton came out of the traps with plenty of enthusiasm and saw a lot of the ball in the early stages. It took them until the eighth minute however to create a serious opportunity and when it came Billy Kee saw a curling left foot shot go over the crossbar.
It did not take long for another chance to come the Brewers way and this time Chris Lewington in the Daggers goal was able to make a straight forward catch as Zola headed Zander Diamond's cross towards goal in the eleventh minute.
Albion took the lead that their first half display had warranted in the 34th minute. Some crisp precise passing inside the Dagenham half saw patience rewarded when Maghoma laid the ball off to Lee BELL and his low skidding strike flew past Lewington with the help of a possible deflection for good measure.
Dagenham began to come back into the game more but Albion showed their ability to break at pace on twenty minutes when Lee Bell sent Maghoma away down the left and his cross to Kee was laid into the path of Robbie Weir who drilled a low effort wide of the post with what looked like the aid of a deflection although referee Andy Madley awarded a goal kick.
The home side quickly threatened themselves with a move instigated down their left through Medy Elito and when he swung in a low cross to Josh Scott in the centre a deflection off Diamond gave Daggers a corner that Albion eventually hacked clear.
Alex MacDonald glanced a header just wide of the target on 26 minutes as Albion continued to look the livelier with threats from several areas of the team.
Daggers were close to opening the scoring with the best chance yet on the half hour mark. Lee Bell was adjudged to have fouled Scott just outside the area and when Matt Saunders curled in the free kick it took a strong hand from Stuart Tomlinson to keep the ball out under his crossbar.
A second was not far away for Albion on 37 minutes as a deep ball to the back post allowed MacDonald to set up Zola for a hooked shot that was half cleared with Maghoma driving the rebound into the side netting.
Scott then reminded Albion that Daggers were still going to be a threat with a speculative effort that was not far off the target a minute later.
Billy Kee picked up the first yellow card of the game on 43 minutes for a loose challenge on Luke Howell before the home side launched a late assault on the Brewers goal with Sharps having to divert a low cross from Scott inches wide of the upright and when Medy Elito nutmegged Diamond to surge into the area it took a combination of Sharps and Robbie Weir to deny the pacy wideman a shot on goal.
Half time: Dagenham & Redbridge 0 - 1 Burton Albion
The dangerous Elito failed to reappear for the second half and young midfielder Louis Dennis was introduced in his place.
The home side showed plenty of promise early in the second half and were level on 51 minutes as Josh SCOTT skipped through two challenges in midfield before smashing a shot from the edge of the area beyond Tomlinson.
Buoyed by the equaliser the home side went in search of a second and left back Femi Ilesanmi had Tomlinson stretching to collect a long range effort in the 55th minute.
Albion were being pegged back as the defence stood firm it enabled the Brewers to try and press forward for a second to re-establish their lead. Matt Saunders picked up a yellow card for a challenge on MacDonald and as the visitors pused on keeper Lewington came from his line and had to punch the ball away just before Kee could get a head on it.
It was becoming something of a midfield battle with neither side able to really create anything of note. Albion made a double change on 77 minutes with Adam Drury and Matt Paterson coming on for Alex MacDonald and Billy Kee. The two substitutes almost contrived a goal for Albion a minute later as the young Manchester City winger skipped to the bye line and drilled in a low cross that Paterson met at the near post but only diverting it wide of the post.
It was almost getting to the stage of making sure that the Brewers did not lose the game given the way that the Daggers had hit back at Burton in the second half. In the closing stages though it was Albion pressing for a winner and they almost grabbed it when Maghoma turned a cracked in a shot on goal that looped up off a defender and with Lewington stranded landed just on top of the net.
It was the last chance of the game and Albion should see this as a point gained making it four from six in a tricky week of fixtures.
DAGGERS: Lewington, Wilkinson, Ilesanmi, Doe, Strevens, Scott, Elito, Saunders, Howell, Hoyte, Ogogo. Substitutes: Seabright, Green, Reed, Maher, Bingham, Dennis, Shields.
BURTON: Tomlinson; O'Connor, Diamond, Sharps, McCrory; MacDonald, Bell, Weir, Maghoma; Zola, Kee. Substitutes: Corbett, Lyness, Phillips, Paterson, Holness, Dyer, Drury.
Referee: Mr. A.Madley (West Yorkshire)
GOALS: Daggers - Scott (51) ; Burton - Bell (34)
Attendance: 1,364 (146 away)