BURTON ALBION 1-2 COVENTRY CITYBurton Albion missed out on a chance to top League One for the first time in their history as Coventry City came from behind to leapfrog the Brewers into second place courtesy of a 2-1 victory.
Aaron Martin's unfortunate own goal gave Albion the lead after eleven minutes, diverting Mark Duffy's cross into the roof of the net, but a cool finish from former Derby and Forest striker Marcus Tudgay had the Sky Blues level on twenty minutes and there was more than an element of confusion surrounding Romain Vincelot's winner nine minutes into the second half with Albion claiming, in vain, that the Frenchman was offside when the ball rebounded off Martin and ended up in the net as the former Dagenham midfielder poked home.
It was tough on Burton who had been on top at that stage of the second period in search of a second goal and despite some fierce pressure on the Coventry goal in the closing stages an equaliser would not come with keeper Lee Burge making a flying save from substitute Lucas Akins and Timmy Thiele seeing a close range effort go just wide.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink rang the changes again for the highly anticipated clash against the Sky Blues. True to his word a couple of the changes against Doncaster in the JPT in midweek held on to their places. The only surprise inclusion was probably Jerome Binnom-Williams who displaced Damien McCrory from the left back slot to create a new partnership down the left with Nasser El Khayati.
The Dutchman was quickly into the action with a probing cross that Tom Naylor met with a stooping header , Sky Blues keeper Lee Burge making a comfortable save.
After some early probing by both sides it was Albion who made a fortuitous breakthrough on eleven minutes. Mark Duffy had already had a couple of darts down the right to test out City left back Chris Stokes. Naylor's run and pass gave him another chance and a low ball into the six yard box drew Aaron MARTIN into making a stabbed attempt to clear the ball succeeding only in finding the top corner of the net.
Ruben Lameiras wasted a good opportunity for Coventry to test Jon McLaughlin on 19 minutes when the visitors were awarded a free kick 25 yards out after Robbie Weir was adjudged to have handled the ball but having put the ball wide from that attempt the visitors were much more ruthless on their next attack. The Portuguese forward found Norwich loanee Jacob Murphy on the edge of the box and his ball into the centre was instantly controlled by Marcus TUDGAY who had time to pick his spot and level things up.
Naylor had another headed effort go just wide of the target this time as some excellent link up play on the right involving El Khayati and Duffy invited the former Derby man to make a well timed run to meet the ball, Burge mighty relieved to see the ball miss the target.
Burge almost embarrassed himself by spilling a free kick from Duffy but managed to recover to drop ont he ball at the second attempt. Albion began to press more and Beavon was unlucky to see a left foot shot deflected wide after taking one complete airshot at the ball but finding himself still in possession of the ball just inside the box. A flurry of Burton corners allowed the Brewers to continue applying pressure on the Coventry defence with Tudgay having to do his defensive bit to head clear under pressure.
Binnom-Williams carelessly conceded possession in the final minute before the break but then recovered well to block a shot from Lameiras looking to capitalise as the ball was returned into the box with interest.
Coventry finished the half on top and deep inside the Burton penalty area, Romain Vincelot thinking he had scored with a near post effort until a deflection off a Burton defender took it wide of the post.
It brought an end to an entertaining first half where both sides had chances to be in front. It was all set up for an interesting second period.
Half time: Burton Albion 1-1 Coventry City
It was the Brewers who started the second half the brighter of the two but marshalled by the excellent Reda Johnson the Sky Blues defence was proving difficult to penetrate. Burge awkwardly spilled a long range shot from Beavon and Albion continued to press with a corner. Duffy wastefully squandered possession from the corner and Murphy was allowed to sprint away and win a corner at the other end. Although the initial corner was cleared Murphy swung in a deep cross that evaded everyone in yellow in the middle and hit Martin before almost apologetically rolling towards the net, Vincelot tapping the ball over the line but seemingly in an offside position. Albion were convinced the goal should not have stood and remonstrated with the officials who after consulting one another were unmoved awarding the goal.
John Fleck went in the book for a more than robust challenge on Beavon as Albion tried to respond.
Two substitutions in as many minute were the order of the day for Albion, looking for a route back into the game. Duffy made way for Matty Palmer and he was quickly followed into the action by Lucas Akins, replacing El Khayati.
The pair certainly injected some urgency into Albion's play and just when they looked to be having an effect Coventry made their own change. After only signing for the Sky Blues on Friday, former West Brom and Celtic striker Marc-Antoine Fortune was handed his debut.
Beavon and Akins were starting to link up well and it led to a spell of pressure from corners. Burge's propensity to fumble the ball rather erratically almost cost his side dear on 79 minutes as the ball ended up going goalwards with the keeper having Martin to thank for sparing his blushes with a hurried clearance.
Tudgay almost added a third on 82 minutes. A superb pass from O'Brien giving him the chance to clip a chipped effort just over the bar and onto the roof of the net with McLaughlin exposed.
Akins forced an excellent save from Burge with a thunderous volley and the visitors were having to hang on as Burge appeared to knock Akins to the floor and Thiele failed to make sufficient contact with a low cross that was begging to be finished. The German diverted it goalwards but agonisingly the ball trickled just wide.
Anthony O'Connor replaced Weir for the closing moments and went up top and despite a late burst of pressure with balls piled into the box it just would not fall for the Brewers who slipped to a first home defeat of the campaign.