BURTON ALBION 1 - 0 EXETER CITYBurton Albion's perfect start to the season continued at the Pirelli Stadium with a hard working 1-0 win over Exeter City. Stuart Beavon superbly volleyed home his first league goal of the season on 41 minutes to grab the points after visiting keeper Christy Pym had almost single handedly kept the Grecians in it with a string of first half saves.
The Preston loan striker showed great skill to latch onto a misplaced header from experienced midfielder Matt Oakley inside the box to steer the ball out of the reach of the young Grecians stopper and Albion were able to control the game from there on in.
It was the first time since 1956 that Albion had won the first four games of a season and a winning habit is something that the Brewers could surely get used to.
Gary Rowett made just the one change from Saturday's team for the visit of the Grecians. Despite an impressive performance at left back against the Daggers George Taft was left out with the Brewers boos opting for the more attacking option of Callum McFadzean.
With just over a minute on the clock visiting Christy Pym was already at full stretch. Lucas Akins tested out the left hand side of the Exeter defence and when his shot was blocked it fell invitingly for John Mousinho to lash a shot towards the top corner that the young Grecians stopper did well to parry away. Albion had the visitors penned in with a couple of corners and Pym was fortunate to be in the right place when the ball again fell to Mousinho on the edge of the area, the midfielder drilling his effort straight at the keeper.
Exeter responded with a spell of possession without seriously threatening Jon McLaughlin's goal but Albion were a little more direct for another chance, Ian Sharps launched a ball into the box, expertly controlled by Stuart Beavon and he in turn fed Akins who fired across the goal and wide.
After all their good early work Albion almost undid their efforts when Robbie Weir tried to head the ball back to McLaughlin but with new signing Graham Cummins lurking on the edge of the area the ball fell kindly for the Exeter man who looked up to find the Brewers keeper right in his path and able to block his hastily taken shot.
Pym was by far the busier of the two keepers and his palms were stung again on 25 minutes as Akins worked room on the edge of the box for a well hit shot that the young keeper got right behind again.
The keeper made an even more impressive save on 29 minutes. Again it was Akins to be denied. The Brewers winger started the move with a sweeping pass out to Phil Edwards on the right and he continued his run into the box to leap superbly to meet the full back's cross with a meaty header that Pym clawed away at full stretch.
Exeter had a rare chance when a blocked pass fell nicely for Cummins to burst towards the Burton box but his final shot was very wayward.
Albion finally broke the deadlock on 41 minutes with a peach of a finish. McFadzean launched a long throw into the area and after a poor header from Matt Oakley inside the box, Beavon pounced to drill a low volley out of the reach of Pym.
Beavon was proving to be a real thorn in Exeter's side and a beautifully driven cross was hacked clear by Pat Baldwin for the safety of a corner.
Half time: Burton Albion 1-0 Exeter City
The second half was only four minutes old when Robbie Weir latched onto a loose ball and drove it towards the top corner, Pym again showing good athleticism to get across and keep Albion out.
Liam Sercombe was handed the chance to test Albion's defence when the visitors were awarded a free kick on 59 minutes but the defensive wall did its job to divert the ball for a corner. It was the start of a concerted spell of pressure for the visitors but even though they had Albion at full stretch on several occasions they failed to seriously trouble Albion's man between the sticks.
When Albion finally rediscovered their attacking momentum a chance opened up for Knowles who ran across the edge of the box and his low left foot shot was not quite wide enough of Pym to find the corner of the net.
Edwards required a spell of lengthy of treatment after being unceremoniously dumped to the ground by Liam Sercombe who picked up a yellow card for his indiscretion. The popular Albion full back returned to action to a good reception from the Burton fans and within moments Albion almost gave their supporters something else to cheer as Weir's driven ball in from the right arced just wide of the far post.
Marcus Harness injected some more pace into the Albion attack for the last ten minutes as he replaced Dominic Knowles. Beavon and his new strike partner, Akins, led a swift counter attack shortly afterwards and with the Exeter defence retreating Beavon opted to go alone and won a corner with a shot that was rapidly close down by three defenders.
Harness made one darting run into the box late on as the defence parted but his final touch inside the box let him down and the chance to get a shot away was gone.
Exeter piled balls into the box as stoppage loomed and a late spill from McLaughlin provided a rare scary moment at the back when Scot Bennett's header came out of his grasp and McFadzean had to hurriedly hack the ball clear. Despite late pressure on the Burton goal the clean sheet was preserved and the unbeaten start continued.