ROCHDALE 2-1 BURTON ALBIONRochdale finally grabbed a first Football League win over the Brewers at the eighth attempt as Albion suffered a second defeat in three games. Callum Camps with a stunner early on and Ian Henderson from the penalty spot had Keith Hill's side well in command in the first half and whilst Lucas Akins' lobbed effort gave Nigel Clough's men hope in the closing stages a frustrating afternoon ultimately sent Burton home empty handed.
After four successive away wins with clean sheets in each and every one the first half was something of a horror show as Rochdale bounced back from a 6-1 defeat to Barnsley last weekend epitomising their Jekyll and Hyde reputation.
Anthony O'Connor returned into a midfield role at the expense of Calum Butcher in the only change to the side that picked up a precious three points away at Peterborough on Tuesday evening. There was a slight tactical tweak as both O'Connor and Weir sat in front of the back four allowing Tuesday's goalscorer, Tom Naylor, to push into a more advanced role. Brewers boss Nigel Clough was clearly after more of the same from his side as the Brewers showed an excellent response to last Saturday's surprise home defeat to Shrewsbury Town. Top scorer Nasser El Khayati, the supposed subject of interest from QPR, was not involved in the matchday squad with Tom Flanagan returning to the squad after a spell out due to appendix surgery.
Albion sprung forward in an early attack of note before a well timed challenge from Matty Lund denied Naylor the chance to feed Lucas Akins in on the left.
Rochdale strung some decent passing moves together and grabbed the lead in the 8th minute with a stunning strike. Jamie Allen found his midfield colleague Callum CAMPS and he was given too much time to turn and thump a 25 yard effort beyond the dive of Jon McLaughlin, grasping at thin air to his right hand side.
The Brewers soon had a chance to respond when Damien McCrory went direct with a ball over the top of the Rochdale defence for Stuart Beavon to dart onto. The Albion striker got there and with keeper Josh Lillius coming right out there seemed to be a chance to squeeze the ball home. Forced to turn back inside he laid the ball off to Akins who saw his curled effort rebound off a defender.
Albion's defending was looking a little on the shaky side with Rochdale clearly encouraged by a few hasty and erratic clearances from the normally reliable back four.
Burto started to look more threatening as they finally got to grips with the game and a booming cross from Akins on the left picked out Mark Duffy at the back post, getting up well to head into the path of Beavon who saw his shot on the turn blocked. Unable to find Duffy with the rebound Dale had been let off. They made Albion pay comprehensively moments later, doubling their lead. A long ball down the left found skipper Ian Henderson one on one with John Mousinho. The Albion captain gave his opposite number a nudge on the edge of the box which was all referee Stuart Attwell needed to point to the spot as the Rochdale man went tumbling inside the area. HENDERSON stepped up and comprehensively beat McLaughlin from the spot. It left the Brewers in more than a bit of trouble.
Rochdale were first to every ball and making life very uncomfortable for Clough's men. Even when Dave Syers needlessly pushed Mousinho into the advertising hoardings, referee Attwell felt that all that was necessary was a word in the ear of the Rochdale man.
Albion thought they had a goal back on 38 minutes when Anthony O'Connor found the back of the net. The versatile Irishman nipped in to head home a teasing cross from Duffy only for the assistant's flag to go up and deny him.
It was a frustrating end to the first forty five minutes and Clough had a big half time team talk to deliver to his men of they were to have any hope of getting back into the game.
Half time: Rochdale 2-0 Burton Albion
The first response of the second period was to replace O'Connor with striker Timmy Thiele. The change saw Albion go to more of a 4-4-2 formation knnowing that the next goal of the game was crucial. It was almost Rochdale that grabbed it on 47 minutes, Jamie Allen lashing in a shot that McLaughlin got his hands to and saw drop on to the roof of the net. From the corner Camps was just inches away from poking home with a scuffed shot dribbling just wide.
A swift counter, led by Akins on 50 minutes briefly threatened to get Albion back into it. Smart work from Beavon kept it alive and brought McCrory into play on the left but his normally trusty left foot effort skewed across the face of goal.
It was perhaps symptomatic of Albion's day. All the little things not quite going to plan were contriving to make it a disappointing afternoon for the Brewers.
Set pieces not finding their men, players carelessly straying offside. If it could go wrong for Albion, this was the afternoon when it did go wrong.
McCrory did test Lillis in the Rochdale goal on 71 minutes with a volleyed effort from Naylor's lay-off but it was soon Rochdale swarming forward at the other end with the giant Peter Vincenti forcing McCrory to concede a corner which was eventually smuggled clear.
Butcher took over from Weir in the middle of the park as the Brewers sought some attacking inspiration and he almost poached himself a goal from Edwards' header inside the six yard box.
Vincenti was close again as Rochdale won a corner and the former Stevenage man slid in at the far post unable to make contact as Allen flicked a header towards the far post.
Albion suddenly had a lifeline on 78 minutes with a goal out of nothing. It was rudimental but who cares when it results in a goal. Naylor pumped a long hopeful ball forwards and AKINS won the race to get there and lob the ball over the advancing Lillis into the empty net.
Rochdale took their time, understandably, over a double substitution on 84 minutes with Calvin Andrew sent on to add a presence in attack and Rhys Bennett added to the midfield.
McLaughlin had to get down smartly to his left when Allen pulled the trigger from just outside the box.
Naylor had a glorious chance to grab a point for Albion as the clock ticked on to 90 minutes but his shot from the edge of the box got a deflection for a corner. The shot was going over the bar anyway but it was an excellent chance to snatch something.
Duffy hit a curling effort over the bar in stoppage time and despite timewasting that was not even subtle referee Attwell blew for time almost bang on the allotted additional time added.
The only thing that went Albion's way on a frustrating afternoon did not even happen at Spotland. Fellow Lancastrians Blackpool did the Brewers a huge favour bv beating Gillingham at Bloomfield Road.