AFC WIMBLEDON 3-0 BURTON ALBIONKingsmeadow has never been a happy hunting ground for the Brewers and so it proved again as Gary Rowett's side slumped to a 3-0 defeat against AFC Wimbledon.
A first defeat of the season was always going to come at some point but it will be the manner of the loss that will be of more concern to the Brewers boss. Albion failed to muster many clear chances on the home goal and Albion's normally rock solid defence were easily undone by the much vaunted strike partnership of Matt Tubbs and Adebayo Akinfenwa. Tubbs opened the scoring when he got in behind the Brewers defence to maintain his spot as the leading scorer in League 2 and Akinfenwa bagged his first two goals for the Wombles to send the Brewers home well beaten.
With Adam McGurk taking a knock to his hip in the 2-0 victory over York City on Saturday there was one enforced change for Rowett. Leicester City loanee came in for his full Albion debut at the expense of the Irishman linking up with Stuart Beavon in attack. The remainder of the side was unchanged as the Brewers looked to continue their outstanding start to the new League 2 campaign.
The home side were out of the traps very quickly and in their efforts to get out of a sticky run of form they have a couple of good of good early chances. George Francomb, on his return to the side swung in a low cross to the edge of the box where Dannie Bulman saw a shot blocked and with the pressure still on the Albion defence Adebayo Akinfenwa headed a good chance wide from a testing left wing cross. With the Brewers struggling to get out of their own half Matt Tubbs turned sharply and headed into the penalty area but good keeping by Jon McLaughlin forced him to try a pass across the box which allowed the Brewers defence to clear as his pass failed to find another blue shirt.
Albion finally broke free of their defensive shackles to burst forward through Beavon and when the ball was worked out to Lucas Akins on the right his cross was overhit and drifted out for a goal kick.
Tubbs and Akinfenwa were already proving to be a real handful and the home side went closer still on ten minutes when Akinfenwa's presence forced a half clearance and when the ball came nicely for Tubbs he cracked a rising shot which clipped the top of the bar.
Alex MacDonald thumped a long range free kick wide before Beavon linked well on the right with Akins before delivering a low cross to the near post that Blyth poked over the bar.
An error from George Taft on 16 minutes allowed Francomb to burst down the Wimbledon right. His deep cross was well recovered beyond the far post by Tubbs allowing Sean Rigg to deliver a cross that Akinfenwa headed too close to McLaughlin who dropped to his left to save.
The home pressure had to tell and it did on 20 minutes as TUBBS broke the deadlock. A long ball forward was flicked on by Francomb and the League 2 leading scorer got in behind to race to the edge of the box giving McLaughlin no chance.
Blyth headed over a difficult chance from a Shane Cansdell-Sherriff free kick but it was still the home side looking more likely.
With half an hour on the clock Albion were forced into a change with Akins playing no further part in the game. Matty Palmer came on in his place and the side took on more of a 4-3-3 formation with Beavon pulling to the left and Alex MacDonald going to the right of the front three and Palmer slotting into the midfield between Robbie Weir and John Mousinho.
With 36 minutes gone Albion found themselves 2-0 down. A deep cross in from the right homed in on AKINFENWA and he held off his marker to bury a close range header.
Albion needed something quickly to avoid being out of the game before half time and home keeper James Shea twice had to show good hands inside his six yard box as Albion put testing balls in. Macdonald tried a shot from the edge of the box but his effort was quickly closed down taking the sting out of his effort making it easy for Shea. The ex-Arsenal youngster in the Wombles goal almost blotted his copybook when a long hopeful ball forward from Cansdell-Sherriff should have been a routine catch but the keeper momentarily lost concentration and allowed the ball to slip through his grasp at the expense of a corner.
Half time: AFC Wimbledon 2-0 Burton Albion
The second half was less than two minutes old when Albion spurned a good chance to halve their arrears. MacDonald sent in an excellent centre from the right and Weir was advancing into the box only to direct his header onto the roof of the net.
It was a much better start to the second half for the Brewers as they began to look much more fluent on the ball. Tubbs picked up a yellow card after wrestling George Taft to the ground.
Phil Edwards let fly with a long range shot that was blocked on the edge of the area and as the game got somewhat feisty John Mousinho and home skipper Alan Bennett both saw yellow for an off the ball altercation in the centre circle.
Weir set himself for a shot that was too close to Shea and on 63 minutes Albion made their second change. Cansdell-Sherriff went off to be replaced by Callum McFadzean allowing George Taft to switch to central defence. Two minutes later and the home side had a third as MacFadzean was caught out by the bounce allowing Francomb to send the ball across the box. Jon McLaughlin will be disappointed he did not cut out the cross and AKINFENWA was lurking at the far post to smash the ball into the roof of the net.
It almost got worse for Albion very quickly when Sean Rigg got up highest inside the six yard box to head over a teasing centre.
The Akinfenwa threat was nullified with a quarter of an hour to go when he was substituted and replaced by Adebayo Azeez. Albion also made a change, their third, with Edwards limping off after a heavy challenge and his replacement was Marcus Harness with Mousinho dropping into the right back position.
Albion were close to what would have been a consolation goal in bizarre fashion. Taft aimed what must have been a cross into the area but he ended up seeing the ball come back off the face of the post where Blyth was denied on the volley by an excellent save from Shea.
Tubbs also failed to see out the whole of the game but he left the match in less fortunate circumstances as he tried to handle the ball into the net after failing to connect with a header and the referee was quick to produce a second yellow card for the striker followed by the accompanying red.
Azeez almost got himself on the scoresheet as Palmer's loose pass across the park was cut out by Tom Beere who instantly fed his fellow substitute who was only denied by the onrushing McLaughlin.
To sum up Albion's night Taft sent a header wide from a good position with Shea scrambling across his line.