SHREWSBURY TOWN 0-1 BURTON ALBIONMark Duffy's last minute strike gave Burton Albion a first ever win at the home of the Shrews to give the Brewers a second consecutive League One away win and push Albion to the heady heights of third in the early league standings.
Duffy's first goal in Burton colours may have been something of a smash and grab after Shrewsbury had dominated periods of the game and rattling the Albion woodwork twice towards the end of the first half but another resilient defensive display from the Brewers laid the foundation for the Birmingham loanee to sweep in from six yards after the pace and power of substitute Jerome Binnom-Williams had unsettled the Shrews defence. As well as being a great result it also provided a first League clean sheet of the season, something Albion's defence had spoken about in the build up to the match.
For the second game running the starting line-up for the Brewers showed no fewer than eight changes frome the previous game as manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink continued to make the maximum use of his squad. The goalkeeping dilemma saw Jon McLaughlin return despite another impressive showing from loanee Remi Matthews, highlighting the quality of keepers that the Brewers boss has at his disposal this season. The back four returned to its usual line up as well with Phil Edwards, skipper John Mousinho and Damien McCrory returned alongside mainstay and former Shrews man Shane Cansdell-Sherriff. Midfield saw Calum Butcher preferred to partner Robbie Weir, Tom Naylor dropping to the bench, with Mark Duffy and Nasser El Khayati taking up their roles on the wings, Timmy Thiele and Stuart Beavon offered the chance to continue their blossoming partnership in attack. In essence it was the same side that swept Blackpool away in the second half at Bloomfield Road to record Albion's first ever League 1 away win.
Shrewsbury started the game brightly. Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro trying to muscle his way into the box in the early moment but fouling Edwards as he did so and an early corner from Liam Lawrence was eventually cleared with Albion getting the benefit of a goal kick decision from referee Mark Haywood that all of a Shrewsbury persuasion were convinced should have been another corner.
McCrory nicked possession from Town right back Matt Tootle as he dawdled on the ball but having fed El Khayati in down the left his attempt to get a quick shot away was foiled as Mark Ellis came across to clear the danger.
Calum Butcher picked up an early yellow card for the Brewers when he was penalised on 16 minutes for a challenge of Shrews playmaker Ryan Woods. It looked like a genuine 50/50 challenge but the fact that Woods stayed down in some pain persuaded Mr Haywood otherwise.
Shrewsbury were allowed to attack the Burton box with purpose when Lawrence swung in a free kick for Ellis to head back across goal and when El Khayati's attempted clearance landed at the feet of Lawrence again another deep cross found the head of Ellis again, the central defender again heading back across goal but heading over.
El Khayati used his mow familiar trickery to win Albion a corner on 23 minutes but Mousinho's push at the back post meant that even if his downward header had beaten Jayson Leutwiler then his effort would have been immediately ruled out.
Thiele had an excellent chance for Albion on 27 minutes. A lofted pass eluded Ellis and allowed the German to burst into the area but the outstretched leg of the Shrews keeper denied him his first goal in English football.
The persistence of the Albion man won another corner as he showed he had the pace to contend with Jermaine Grandison, the rock at the back for the home side, but from a hard won corner another back post push relieved the pressure on the home defence.
A rare error from Robbie Weir deep inside his own half almost cost Albion dear, Tootle stealing the ball from the Irish midfielder and playing James Collins in down the right channel of the area. The former Albion loanee, usually so deadly inside the eighteen yard box dragged a low effort across the six yard box and just wide of the far post.
Shrewsbury were lifted and Junior Brown rattled the crossbar moments later as hesitation on the other side of the pitch gave the former Fleetwood man the chance to let fly and with the Burton defence under some severe pressure Lawrence whipped a curling left foot effort just over McLaughlin's goal.
Brown must have considered himself the unluckiest man on the pitch as the half time whistle going. Moments before referee Haywood blew for the break the ball fell nicely for the wing back and with McLaughlin grasping at thin air he could only watch as his left foot effort careered back out off the left hand upright of the Burton keeper. Albion perhaps a tad fortunate to be on level terms going into the break.
Half time: Shrewsbury Town 0-0 Burton Albion
Woods tried to continue where the Shrews had left off at the end of the first half with a raking shot that had McLaughlin going full length to his right and thankful that his effort was wide of the mark.
The home side continued to press and despite having gone to extra time in the League Cup on Tuesday and started with an unchanged lien-up they looked the more lively. Grandison rose highest to meet a Lawrence corner with a meaty header, Albion's goal surviving as the ball flew inches wide of the target.
It was clear that Albion needed to change something as the home side got closer and closer to breaking the deadlock. The introduction of Naylor for Butcher was the way that the Brewers boss opted to go. The former Derby man was busy as ever in that midfield engine room and Albion briefly broke free of their defensive shackles to put some pressure on the home penalty area without seriously threatening Leutwiler's goal.
Another Shrews corner was met by Grandison's head although this time the referee spotted a push and gave Albion a free kick, Grandison's header going over the bar anyway.
The game was crying out for a moment of quality but Lawrence's cross in from the right with fifteen minutes to go perhaps summed up the frustrations of both sides as it flew harmlessly over the goal. The fact that the experienced midfielder had to appeal to referee Haywood for a free kick summed up just how the Shrewsbury skipper was feeling as well. He was right it was a free kick and perhaps typically the home side failed to prosper from it.
Albion made their second change with thirteen minutes remaining. Jerome Binnom-Williams sent on to add some pace and power for the closing stages with Nasser El Khayati making way for the Crystal Palace man.
Shrewsbury, still searching for that elusive first win of the campaign made a double attacking change for the closing eight minutes, Both Collins and Akpa-Akpro were withdrawn and Tyrone Barnett and Wolves loanee Liam McAlinden asked to try and make the late breakthrough.
Beavon was high and wide with a header as Binnom-Williams sent in a deflected cross that saw the Burton striker get up well ahead of the flat footed Mat Sadler.
McAlinden forced McLaughlin to save low to his left as the Shrews were awarded a free kick five minutes from time. It was a well rehearsed set piece move but the Albion stopper was equal to it.
Beavon left the action with four minutes to go, Aurelien Joachim sent on to partner Thiele in attack, both of them still searching for that elusive first goal in black and yellow.
The pair almost combined to give Albion the lead with a minute to go but Sadler cleared under pressure from Joachim. However it was not all over and Binnom-Williams resurrected the move with a burst into the box that set up DUFFY for a shot that finally had Leutwiler beaten.
The Swiss keeper was almost beaten again as Joachim let fly with a wickedly dipping shot and Thiele picked up a yellow card for grabbing the home keeper as he tried to release the ball but it was all too late for the home side as Albion's impressive start to the new season continues.