NEWPORT COUNTY 1 - 1 BURTON ALBIONA hard earned point in South Wales preserved Burton Albion's unbeaten start to the season thanks to John Mousinho's first goal for the club. The midfielder struck early in the second half to cancel out Newport's opener which goes down as an Ian Sharps own goal after the skipper tried unsuccessfully to head off his own goalline in the first period.
Both sides had chances to win it with Lee Minsull rattling the crossbar for the hosts and Lucas Akins clipping a second half effort against the post.
The Brewers showed two changes to the team for the visit to South Wales. George Taft was restored to the starting line-up pushing Callum McFadzean further up the pitch to left wing as Alex MacDonald dropped to the bench. Up front Adam McGurk was considered sufficiently recovered from his back injury to return in attack in place of Dominic Knowles. After a summer spent trying to overcome a niggly knee injury Lee Bell returned to take a place on the substitutes bench.
Albion found themselves penned back in the opening stages. Ian Sharps making his 500th Football League appearance made some timely early interventions but a rising drive by centre half Andrew Hughes went over Jon McLaughlin's crossbar to relieve the pressure. The Brewers continued to look lively in the opening exchanges and on five minutes a teasing cross from Robbie Willmott was headed over the bar by Chris Zebroski.
A rare foray into the Newport box involving Akins and Beavon came to nothing and Newport were able to build again, some patient passing, whilst under pressure from the Brewers midfield eventually allowing Zebroski to lob the ball in for former Gresley striker Aaron O'Connor but McLaughlin was quickly off his line to intercept.
Albion won a corner that was not properly cleared and when George Taft spotted McFadzean in space on the opposite side of the box the pass was excellent but the Sheffield United man's first time sidefoot volley lacked the quality to keep it down and seriously test Lenny Pidgeley.
Newport continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock and Albion were almost the architects of their own downfall on 23 minutes as several attempts to clear the ball were spurned allowing Zebroski the chance to put a dangerous ball into the middle where Sharps eventually cleared.
Beavon thought he was through on goal on 26 minutes when McGurk slid a superb ball in behind the full back but last man Kevin Feely produced a superbly timed challenge to nick the ball off his toe and get it back to his keeper.
The goal that Newport had been threatening finally arrived on 36 minutes. A long throw from Ryan Jackson caused mayhem in the box and when Zebroski outjumped McLaughlin it was left to Sharps to attempt to clear the situation but his header hit the underside of the bar and dropped over the line. A poor goal to concede.
Things almost went from bad to worse on 44 minutes when midfielder Lee Minshull was afforded too much time and space in midfield to crack a long range shot that McLaughlin could only watch as it bounced back off his crossbar and away from danger.
At least it stayed only one goal between the teams as the half time whistle went giving Gary Rowett time to shake his team up for the second half.
Half time: Newport County 1-0 Burton Albion
There appeared to be little change at the start of the second period as Newport continued where they left off - on the attack and a series of corner kicks had Albion stretched although they managed to clear their lines eventually.
However after soaking up the pressure the Brewers were level on 51 minutes. McGurk fed the ball out wide to Phil Edwards. The full back produced an excellent deep cross to the back post that was only headed clear as far as John MOUSINHO who calmly guided his shot low back to the far post and in.
Newport responded quickly and only a superb last ditch challenge from Edwards denied O'Connor as he looked to pull the trigger. Zebroski was also close as he tussled with Sharps on the edge of the box and Albion were somewhat grateful for the referee's whistle as the ball broke to former Albion loanee Mark Byrne who blazed the loose ball over.
Despite the equaliser Albion were still mainly being forced back and there were more than a few concerned faces in the defence when a dipping shot from Ryan Jackson took a wicked deflection off McFadzean and dropped just wide of the upright.
The first substitution came for Burton on 68 minutes. Alex MacDonald provided the fresh legs as Adam McGurk departed the action and this allowed Lucas Akins to move up top with Stuart Beavon, McDonald slotting in on the right wing. Almost instantly the Brewers had a chance to go in front. The substitute won a corner and also took the kick that saw Sharps thunder a free header goalwards only to see Ryan Jackson hack clear off the line.
The Brewers were starting to get more joy as the game wore on and Beavon forced a decent save from Pidgeley low to his right but the best chance fell to Akins. Beavon fed him in through the middle when Newport meekly surrendered possession and the summer recruit cut inside the last defender before chipping the keeper and watching on as the ball came back out off the post. A fantastic opportunity to go in front had been spurned.
Albion threw on Marcus Harness on 79 minutes in place of McFadzean as Albion sensed that the game was there for the taking.
Phil Edwards picked up a yellow card moments later as he was penalised for blocking off Willmott down the Newport left.
Newport also knew that three points were still there for them and Zebroski went close to grabbing the win with a driven effort from a tight angle that flew across the face of goal.
Albion had the pressure in stoppage time with a flurry of corners but this time it was Newport who had to do some last ditch defending to secure a point.