BURTON ALBION 2-1 PETERBOROUGH UNITEDIf all League One games at the Pirelli Stadium this season are going to be like this it is going to be an entertaining if nerve jangling season. For the second home game in a row Albion came out 2-1 victors against a side reduced to ten men. 2-0 up through goals from Nasser El Khayati and Stuart Beavon either side of half time, Gabriel Zakuani's red card just shy of the hour mark should have been the signal for Albion to see out the game for a comfortable win but the old adage of it being harder to play against ten men rang true as Peterborough changed things around and got themselves back into it through Marcus Maddison and they would have gone away with a hard earned point had referee Graham Salisbury not controversially ruled out a last gasp strike from Jermaine Anderson, blowing his whistle for a foul on Lucas Akins as the Peterborough man lashed his shot home in the dying seconds, the ball having careered back out off the post just a second earlier.
It could be argued that Albion took the foot off the gas once they got 2-0 up and the late drama will certainly be a salutory lesson to the Brewers to see it through when they have the game completely under their control something that will not have gone unnoticed by the Brewers manager.
The starting line-up showed just one change to the one that came from behind to win at Blackpool on Tuesday evening. Tom Naylor was restored to his central midfield role in place of Calum Butcher as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink opted to stay with the 4-4-2 formation that served Albion so well at Bloomfield Road.
Albion started brightly but it was Jon McLaughlin who had the first slight scare as a clearance from Shane Cansdell-Sherriff looped up off Jermaine Anderson closing down and dropped over the Albion keeper's crossbar.
The Brewers responded and won a couple of corners in quick succession that Ben Alnwick in the Peterborough goal looked less than comfortable with and there were half hearted shouts for a penalty as Beavon went down under a challenge with referee Graham Salisbury not inclined to point to the spot.
Beavon quickly played a superb ball through for his striker partner Timmy Thiele who was just beaten to the ball on the edge of the box with Tom Naylor trying to capitalise on the fact that the keeper was well out of his goal from the rebound but unable to find the target.
Damien McCrory tried a shot from range on his right foot after centre back Ricardo Almeida Santos only half cleared Phil Edwards searching cross but Alnwick was right behind the shot.
It was certainly end to end stuff although neither keeper was being seriously tested. Peterborough were almost things difficult for themselves with some risky passes across their backline that Albion were just unable to intercept.
Harry Anderson incurred the ire of the Burton players and fans with a ridiculous challenge as the ball went out that sent Phil Edwards sprawling into the advertising boards although the referee only gave Albion a throw in despite a lengthy conversation with both players involved.
Mark Duffy had a shot blocked inside the area by Posh skipper Gabby Zakuani as Albion threatened from a free kick for a foul on El Khayati on the edge of the box.
If Harry Anderson should have been booked for his foul on Edwards then Jermaine Anderson certainly went into the book for a poor challenge on Robbie Weir and Albion were quickly on the attack again, Beavon getting a touch to Edwards teasing cross but not quite enough to steer it either side of Alnwick who gratefully grabbed the ball.
Marcus Maddison was posing Albion a big threat down Albion's left and a dart past McCrory into the penalty area spelt danger for the Brewers but they were able to quickly counter from the corner, Beading the charge and finding Duffy on the opposite flank, the winger's attempted ball in to El Khayati just intercepted by Santos on the edge of the area.
Albion had been building up something of a head of steam and they grabbed the lead on 36 minutes through the in form EL KHAYATI. Thiele did well down the right and found Beavon deep inside the penalty area. From close to the bye line the striker spotted the run of the talismanic Dutchman and a perfect ball into his path allowed him to coolly tuck the ball home first time for his third goal of the week.
Ivory Coast striker Souleymane Coulibaly almost fashioned an equaliser after Burton had struggled to clear on the edge of their own box but on the floor having lost his balance he scooped a shot towards goal that McLaughlin had to carefully watch go wide of his upright.
Half time: Burton Albion 1-0 Peterborough United
Both sides traded early goal efforts at the start of the second period, El Khayati scuffing a long range effort wide of the target whilst Michael Bostwick warmed the gloves of McLaughlin with a drive from 25 yards moments later.
A stray pass from Duffy to Naylor almost had Albion in trouble as Souleymane Coulibaly showed his trickery to get into the box and get his shot away, McLaughlin covering his near post well to deny the lively striker.
Peterborough arguably started the second half the bright but it was Albion who showed a clinical touch in front of goal to extend their lead on 54 minutes. Naylor led a quick break out through the midfield and fed Duffy on the right. The momentum of the move seemd to be breaking down as the winger debated what to do. He opted to shoot from inside the box and forced a good save from Alnwick but crucially the former Newcastle keeper could only parry the ball out to the feet of BEAVON who gleefully slammed the ball home.
Things got worse for Posh on 58 minutes as their experienced centre back and skipper Gabby Zakuani was sent off for a late and rash challenge on Thiele in the centre circle. The striker was coming in for some rough treatment having just recovered from treatment to a knock to the head but he got to the ball first and the Posh skipper could have no argument with getting his marching orders.
Albion quickly made their first substitution but it was not Thiele to make way. The German returned to the action after more treatment and when he returned he found that Matty Palmer had replaced his striker partner Beavon with half an hour remaining.
Palmer's first action was to win and then take a free kick from the edge of the area that had Alnwick scrambling across his line to make sure it only rippled the side netting.
Peterborough quickly made a double change with the attacking pair of Conor Washington and Jon Taylor sent on in place of Harry Anderson and Bostwick.
As Albion looked to close the game out with the two goal lead and a man extra Peterborough showed that they were not going to roll over and give up the three points that easily as MADDISON thundered home a 30 yard left foot screamer that was past McLaughlin before he could even think about making an attempt to save it.
Despite the man disadvantage Peterborough looked more of a threat and Shaun Brisley was thrown on in place of Tubi Adebayo-Rowling whilst Albion introduced Aurelien Joachim for his home debut in place of the battered and bruised Thiele. The Luxembourg international quickly showed an excellent first touch to play in El Khayati down the left hand side of the penalty area but the mercurial forward was just unable to provide the return ball into the six yard box where the substitute wanted it.
Coulibaly showed quick feet again latching onto a half clearance from Mousinho on 76 minutes and won his team a corner from a deflected shot and as the Posh threatened from the corner the striker launched into an acrobatic overhead effort that was not far over the crossbar in the end.
El Khayati had a glorious chance to put the game to bed on 79 minutes picking up a pass from Palmer and bursting past Santos but burying a quickly taken left foot shot into the side netting.
Alex Davey quickly picked up Posh's second yellow card of the game for a rash tackle on Palmer.
Naylor, after another industrious performance in the middle blasted a shot over after good work from Duffy and Joachim in the corner.
John Mousinho picked up a yellow card for a challenge just outside the box that presented the visitors with a great chance to test Albion's dfensive resolve but Taylor's delivery was poor. McLaughlin was also booked by referee Salisbury who adjudged the Burton stopper to be taking too much time to take the resulting goal kick.
El Khayati was replaced by Lucas Akins for the closing stages but it was Peterborough who looked the stronger with Taylor looking to conjure something up on the left. He almost managed it early in stoppage time with Jermaine Anderson bundling the ball just wide of the near post.
There was drama in the closing moments of the seven minutes of added time. Alnwick came up for a late corner and was almost embarrassed when Naylor launched a long range effort on the unguarded Posh net as the stopper raced back to try and make his ground and with just about the last kick of the game Anderson thought he had equalised with a rising drive that flew past McLaughlin but as he and his team mates celebrated there was a realisation that as he struck the ball referee Salisbury had penalised a Peterborough player for a pull on the shirt of Akins as the ball cannoned back out off the post a moment earlier from a goalmouth scramble.
Burton had hung on again for another crucial League One victory but the end was certainly a nerve jangler as the referee came to Albion's rescue. If Scunthorpe was a close finish this was even closer with Peterborough still making their case to Mr Salisbury after the final whistle had sounded.