Burton Albion 3-3 Hartlepool UnitedThe young Brewers came away with a point from a thrilling encounter at the Sheffield United academy.
In a game that was thrilling from start to finish, Burton took the lead inside the first two minutes through Joe Sbarra before Jordan Jewson produced a stunning equaliser to go into half time level.
The Brewers re-took the lead early in the second half when Dylan Garnett scored from close range only for Hartlepool captain Jack Turnbull to restore the deadlock with a powerful drive inside the box. Jewson then added to his tally with a quite brilliant free kick which was adjudged to have crossed the line of the underside of the bar. Burton would equalise with time running out through Tristian Matthews’ looping header.
When the two sides last met, in 2015, Hartlepool came away with all three points and it was clear that the hosts were desperate to get revenge in this game. They put Hartlepool under immediate pressure and it paid off when Scott Howes misplaced his attempted header back to his keeper and Joe Sbarra pounced and slotted the ball into an empty net.
The next 24 minutes saw the game become very even, with both sides having great chances. Howes was again beaten when he was outmuscled by Garnett but his attempted cut back was blocked for a corner.
The two number 9s were looking to be the most dangerous men on the pitch as, first, Jewson got away from his man only to fire straight at Lewis Walker in the Burton goal, before Garnett once again got the better of Howes and forced a good save down low.
Despite his chances, Jewson’s equaliser was relatively innocuous. The striker picked up the ball on the left corner of the box before producing a dipping wonder strike that left Walker with no chance. He could have added to his tally a minute later when Jayden Cotterill slipped while in possession and Jewson capitalised only to fire wide from 20 yards.
The two goalkeepers would both be in action towards the end of the half, with Sbarra, Cam Shaw and Cotterill all forcing saves to deny the home side, Walker produced brilliant stops to keep Dylan Elliot and Jewson at bay. Michael Pearson also made a brilliant block on the line after a melee from a corner. Half time 1-1.
Joe Sbarra could have twice put Burton ahead inside the opening minutes of the second half. He first forced a good save in the 48th minute before firing wide with the keeper in no man’s land after Reece Hutchinson’s driving run and cross.
Garnett again beat Howes and cut inside to force a great save, four minutes later, Shaw powered past the out of sorts left back and teed up Garnett to steer the ball home and take the lead.
Just after the hour mark it was 2-2, a clever set piece routine would lead to Turnbull finding space in the box and the centre half fired home, 2-2.
Jewson then produced a brilliant free kick to give Hartlepool their first lead in the game, from around 25 yards he curled the ball over the will and onto the underside of the bar and the ball was seen to have crossed the line by the linesman to make it 2-3.
But there was still life in the Brewers yet and, after mis-kicking his first effort, Matthews headed the looping ball of the opposition keeper to make it 3-3 and that’s how the game would finish.