Andy Corbett Testimonial gameA fitting tribute to long serving full back Andy Corbett saw Burton Albion and Derby County share SIXTEEN goals on a quality night at the Pirelli Stadium.
Derby County sent a very strong side to the Pirelli Stadium as former Brewers boss Nigel Clough helped to celebrate the Burton Albion career of Andy Corbett, the man he brought to the club back in November 2003.
Burton welcomed back numerous members of the Conference winning side of 2008-09 alongside current players. Kevin Poole was in goal and he soon rolled back the years with an excellent stop as Conor Sammon set his aim on the far corner of the net only for Albion's goalkeeping coach to get down well and push it wide of the post.
Poole also leapt athletically to his left to keep out a speculative shot from Jamie Ward before the Brewers took the lead on seventeen minutes. A good move down the left saw Greg Pearson whip in a teasing cross towards the penalty spot where Shaun Harrad fired beyond Legzdins.
Derby were level three minutes later as Paul Coutts played the ball into the path of Jamie Ward and this time there was no chance of Poole getting to the ball as it arrowed into the top corner of the net. Two further minutes had gone by when the Rams took the lead as Ward turned provider, putting the ball across the six yard box for Ben Davies to nudge it home.
Conor Sammon made it three on 27 minutes when Ward again picked out a perfect ball into the middle and the former Wigan striker took his time before slotting low to Poole's left.
Jimmy Phillips and Marc Goodfellow worked well together to set up another chance for Harrad but his well struck shot was pushed round the post by Legzdins.
John McGrath almost smashed in a spectacular goal from the edge of the box just before the half hour mark but when his shot thudded into Shaun Harrad, assistant referee Roy Burton rather spoilt it by putting up the offside flag just as Greg Pearson thrashed it into the top corner.
Jeff Hendrick was also denied by a linesman's flag, Roy Faunch this time flagging for offside as the midfielder headed home from close range and the sides sparred further with Coutts testing Poole further and Legzdins watching as a thunderous Goodfellow shot was blocked just inside the area.
Half time: Burton Albion XI 1 - 3 Derby County
A multitude of changes at half time saw Derby make eight changes and Burton made three with Lee Bell coming on at left back, Billy Kee at centre back and Danny Holmes in centre midfield. It is fair to say that Derby's changes had more of an effect than Burton's as the Rams quickly rattled off three goals with Theo Robinson netting twice, firstly a shot that hit both posts before going in and then a deft chip over Poole before Nathan Tyson raced through to fire home for six.
Marc Goodfellow produced a trademark finish with a cracking drive from distance to reduce the arrears and when Shaun Harrad cut inside and fired in a trademark finish on 65 minutes it gave Albion a third. Harrad immediately came off along with Marc Goodfellow and on came Albion's new midfield prospect Matty Palmer and former skipper and club record appearance maker Darren Stride.
72 minutes were on the clock when the crowd got the moments they were after. Jimmy Phillips tricked and turned his way into the area and a beautiful dinked pass into the six yard box saw Andy Corbett head home to rapturous applause.
A crisp finish from Nathan Tyson gave him his second of the evening and a seventh for the Rams on 75 minutes. Greg Pearson the fired home on 82 minutes for the twelfth goal of the night.
7-5 became 7-6 when Billy Kee smashed the ball in from close range before Tyson and Robinson combined to give the latter a hat-trick.
Albion put on Sports Scientist Jack Sharkey and even physio James Rowland got in on the action late on although it was Sharkey who strolled through in the closing to stroke home a low shot.
The inevitable late penalty came when a cynical hand ball from Derby gave away the spot kick and who else but Andy Corbett stepped up to make it all square on the night after a great evening's entertainment to mark the excellent service given to the club by Corbs.
The final whistle also offered a chance for John McGrath, Nathan Stanton and Aaron Webster to say a fond farewell to the supporters after their release from the club. All leave haven given excellent service to the club both during their rise to the Football League and for the last four years establishing the club as a League side.
Burton Albion: Kevin Poole, Andy Corbett, Aaron Webster (Lee Bell, 46), Nathan Stanton (Billy Kee, 46, James Rowland), Tony James, John McGrath, Jimmy Phillips, Michael Simpson (Danny Holmes, 46), Greg Pearson (Jack Sharkey), Shaun Harrad (Matty Palmer, 66), Marc Goodfellow (Darren Stride, 66).
Derby County: Adam Legzdins (Ross Atkins), John Brayford (Michael Hoganson), Kieron Freeman, Jeff Hendrick (Conor Doyle), Richard Keogh (Valentin Gjokaj), Jake Buxton (James O'Connor), Paul Coutts (Mason Bennett), Ben Davies, Conor Sammon (Nathan Tyson), Jamie Ward (Theo Robinson), Michael Jacobs.
Referee: Ollie Langford