Torquay United 1-1 Burton AlbionA point is a point at the end of the day but Burton Albion were left disappointed not to leave Plainmoor with more to show for their efforts after a battling performance against relegation strugglers Torquay United finished 1-1. Former Plymouth trainee Damien McCrory fired home his first goal of the season on 33 minutes but Albion's lead lasted just seven minutes as Elliiot Benyon stopped to head home an equaliser. Burton had chances via substitutes Dominic Knowles and Billy Kee in the second half but it remained level to the end.
Brewers boss Gary Rowett made three changes to the side that lost at Bristol Rovers on Friday evening and also threw a change of formation into the mix as well. Out of the side went Jimmy Phillips, Chris Hussey and Billy Kee and in came David Gray, for his full debut, Damien McCrory and Gary Alexander. Phil Edwards moved into the middle as part of a three central defender system, Gray slotting in at right wing back with the returning McCrory asked to perform the same role on the left. Matty Palmer and Robbie Weir offered the cover in front of the defence with Adam McGurk and Zeli Ismail asked to support Alexander in attack.
Whilst Torquay won the first corner of the game in the opening seconds of the match it was Albion who crafted the first real chance. Five minutes had passed when Adam McGurk found Gray on the right and he was able to get into the box before pulling the ball back for Alexander. Moving back away from goal he was hampered slightly as Robbie Weir tried to latch onto the ball but the former Crawley man was still able to shoot on the turn, straight into the body of keeper Michael Poke.
Torquay looked bright in the early exchanges as they tried to imnprove their chances of avoiding relegation after three straight league defeats and loan striker Connor Wilkinson got his head to a teasing cross on 18 minutes but trying to guide it on target was not easy and Lainton was able to tidy up.
Elliot Benyon looked lively on the right and a teasing cross skipped through the six yard box without any being able to get a meaningful touch on it but after a low key start to the game Albion sprung to life on 33 minutes to grab the lead. Phil Edwards was able to venture forwards for about the first time in the game. Unchallenged as he advanced he was able to angle in a cross that was headed down by Alexander and Damien McCRORY came steaming in to fire low through the legs of Poke for his first goal of the season.
Torquay were quick to respond and a lovely chipped pass down the left had Shamir Goodwin with a sight of goal but with the angle narrowing against him he could only fire into the side netting. Moments later though the Gulls were level. Ben Harding did well in midfield to send in a perfect cross and from the edge of the six yard box BENYON stooped to guide a header inside the post.
It was a disappointing goal for Albion to concede with Benyon having far too much room inside the box to find the net but neither side was able to create anything close to a second goal in what remained of a lacklustre first half.
Half time: Torquay United 1-1 Burton Albion
Both sides were looking for improved second half displays and a couple of early corners offered hope with Krystian Pearce heading Nicholson's delivery well wide and at the other end Sharps was a lot closer as he thundered Palmer's corner wide of the post.
Rowett waited just ten minutes to make a move and it was a double change that saw McGurk and Alexander replaced by the fresh legs of Dominic Knowles and ex-Gulls striker Billy Kee.
Again Torquay threatened from a corner as Damon Lathrope headed another Nicholson effort over the bar but Albion were soon on the attack and only the legs of Poke kept the Gulls on terms as Gray's cross was headed into the path of Knowles by Kee and he was only denied at the near post by the athletic keeper.
Ismail was able to work space for a shot on 78 minutes after more intelligent play from Gray but this time his rising drive from the angle of the box was over the bar.
Kee was denied a goal against his former club by a fingertip save from Poke as Palmer swung in another dangerous free kick and it was Burton certainly pressing for a winner.
Alex MacDonald was thrown on as added time began and with Albion desperately searching for a winner. He almost created it too with a run to the byeline before cutting the ball back for Knowles who saw his shot blocked. Gray also fired in a low effort that Poke had to save.
With the final kick of the game substitute Billy Bodin whipped a free kick inches wide of the post with Lainton rooted to the spot but a point apiece does neither side much good in their respective battles at either end of the table.