BURY 3-1 BURTON ALBIONA blistering second half performance from Bury had Albion shaken, rattled and rolled over at Gigg Lane as David Flitcroft's team deposed the Brewers at the top of League 2. A goalless first half gave little indication of the second 45 minutes to come as half time substitute Daniel Nardiello grabbed the opening goal less than three minutes after the restart and as the Burton defence crumbled Ryan Lowe doubled the home sides lead before Nardiello bagged a third. Jacob Blyth netted his first goal for the Brewers late on but it was scant consolation as the Brewers conceded three times for the second game in a row.
Brewers boss Gary Rowett had to shuffle his pack with several first choice players absent for the trip to Gigg Lane. Adam McGurk remained unavailable with a hip injury whilst Lucas Akins, forced off with a foot injury on Tuesday, failed to recover and missed out. Alex MacDonald also picked up an ankle injury at Wimbledon but got through the game at Kingsmeadow before dropping out of the trip to take on the second placed team at start of play. Albion reverted to a 4-5-1 for the game with John Mousinho tasked to sit in and protect the back four whilst Stuart Beavon adopted the lone striker role, Marcus Harness coming in on the right instead of Akins and Callum McFadzean slotting in on the left hand side of the midfield. The absentees meant that Albion could only name six substitutes amongst a youthful looking bench.
An early miscued shot from Robbie Weir was an encouraging start for the Brewers but the home side quickly began to dominate possession while Albion showed more defensive solidity in the early stages than they did at Wimbledon on Tuesday. An early corner gave Nicky Adams the chance to cross to the back post but the Brewers rearguard did enough to force centre back Pablo Mills to head well over.
Albion settled into the game and Beavon was working hard in that lone striker role to try and create opportunities. When he got bundled off the ball on 17 minutes it gave Burton a free kick almost thirty yards from goal but John Mousinho's low shot failed to trouble ex-Albion loanee Rob Lainton in the Bury goal.
Shane Cansdell-Sherriff got in a last ditch challenge to toe end the ball away from the advancing Danny Rose and when George Taft was loose with his pass out of defence Bury were almost in again, Ryan Lowe looping a shot over the top.
Burton's first corner came midway through the first period and only a diving header from Craig Jones denied Mousinho a headed chance as Burton once more began to threaten. Bury probably should have grabbed the lead on 26 minutes. A well worked move down the right gave Adams chance to burst into the area and when the ball came through to Tom Soares inside the six yard box he horribly miscued his shot to the relief of the Burton defence.
Marcus Harness was shown the first yellow card of the game moments later. When Jim McNulty nicked possession off the young winger as he tried to go around his man Harness foolishly tugged his shirt to stop him getting away, earning himself a booking.
Weir curled an effort on goal after good work from Callum McFadzean with Lainton plucking the ball out of the air before Bury again began to threaten, Jon McLaughlin punching a corner away under pressure.
Both sides traded efforts as the half drew to a close. Matty Palmer drilled a low effort wide of the target before Jones got into an excellent position inside the box firing across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
When the half time whistle came neither keeper had been seriously tested and a goalless scoreline accurately reflected the chances in the half.
Half time: Bury 0-0 Burton Albion
The home side made a change for the second half with leading scorer Danny Rose replaced by Daniel Nardiello and it was the Shakers who made a very positive start to proceedings after the break with Adams twice finding space on the right for crosses that McLaughlin cut out with relative comfort.
The home substitution turned out to be an inspired change as NARDIELLO got on the scoresheet less than three minutes after coming on. The Shakers broke up play in the middle and Danny Mayor advanced to the edge of the box before slipping a pass in for the substitute to slip the ball past the Brewers keeper.
Buoyed by the goal Bury quickly went in search of a second and only a smart save from McLaughlin and some quick clearing up from Ian Sharps denied Ryan Lowe stealing in at the back post with a low shot.
George Taft also picked up a yellow card when centre back Nathan Cameron burst down the right a foul by the tall left back deemed somewhat harshly worthy of a booking by the referee.
When the second goal came for the hosts on 57 minutes it was a calamity all round. Robbie Weir went in for a 50-50 challenge in the midfield and the ball looped up and into the penalty area. Predatory marksman LOWE was on hand and left with a simple one on one with the Albion keeper that he simply could not miss.
Albion quickly made a double change as Marcus Harness departed the action to be replaced by Jacob Blyth and Dominic Knowles coming on for McFadzean.
Burton were looking shell shocked but they almost got themselves back into it on 65 minutes, Blyth delivering a teasing cross that was deflected off Jones giving Beavon a chance with a header that looped over.
A minute later and Albion found themselves 3-0 down. Shane Cansdell-Sherriff tried to find McLaughlin with a back pass but as the keeper came out it was a little wide and behind him allowing NARDIELLO to nip in and win the race back to the goal line to finish off his second of the game.
Burton's afternoon continued to get worse as both Sharps and Weir picked up yellow cards and Bury looked capable of carving Burton open at will. Jones nipped into the box on 77 minutes but he was eventually closed down and Mayor poked a low shot inches wide of the post as space opened up in the middle of Albion's back line once more.
McLaughlin kept it down to three with a smart save to deny Nardiello as the game entered its last ten minutes but Albion were already more than ready for referee Eltringham's final whistle.
BLYTH failed to profit when Lainton failed to claim Edwards' looping centre but on 88 minutes he did notch his first goal in Burton colours. Beavon found space on the left to swing in a superb cross and the Leicester loanee got up well to steer a towering header beyond the keeper.
Young centre half Liam Slade came on for the closing stages as Edwards' came off and McLaughlin had to come out smartly to deny Nardiello his hat-trick but Albion had been well beaten on the second half showing.