WOLVES 1-1 BURTON ALBIONWill Miller was Burton Albion's late, late hero at Molineux grabbing a stoppage time equaliser to earn a point for Nigel Clough's Brewers against Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Spurs youngster was the right man at the right place at the right time to steer home Lloyd Dyer's lay-off four minutes into the time added on at the end of the game, stunning the hosts who had led for the last thirteen minutes of the game after Prince Oniangue had fired home.
Defeat for the Brewers would have been a bitter pill to swallow having seen Carl Ikeme keep out a first half penalty from Lucas Akins at a time when Albion were deservedly on top in the game and although Wolves were markedly improved in the second period Albion were good value for their point.
After a two week hiatus due to the first international break Albion were back in action looking to build on the momentum of three games unbeaten in the Championship culminating with the excellent win over Derby County last time out. New loan signing Jamie Ward was the only change to the starting line-up for Albion. Having returned from international duty with Northern Ireland unscathed Ward lined up in attack alongside Chris O'Grady with Miller dropping to the bench. Jackson Irvine showed no effects of his jet set week with Australia to resume in central midfield. Lee Williamson resumed on the bench after his stint away with Jamaica.
Wolves, by contrast, made seven changes to their line-up from the game at Huddersfield and handed out four debuts. Boss Walter Zenga had spoken in the week about being able to select two different sides and the changes were an example of the flexibity within the squad at Molineux. It may actually have been a hinderance for Wolves as several of the new signings were playing in the Championship for the first time and showed signs of naivety in terms of the levels of physicality and tempo required at this level.
Both sides showed an early eagerness to get back into the swing of things and Joao Teixeira lifted an early shot over the bar whilst Carl Ikeme in the Wolves goal have to get down low to his right to deal with Lloyd Dyer's effort from outside the box.
Ben Turner's raking crossfield ball earned Albion their first corner of the game on ten minutes but Tom Naylor at the back post was unable to steer Matty Palmer's delivery on target.
Wolves had the ball in the back of the Burton net moments later but referee James Adcock ruled that debutant Paul Gladon had fouled Albion keeper Jon McLaughlin in challenging him and forcing him to spill the ball. In fairness the referee's whistle had been blown a long time before Gladon prodded into the unguarded net although Wolves boss Walter Zenga seemed less than impressed.
After sitting off the home side for a spell Albion came back at their hosts and they were rewarded with a penalty on 20 minutes. Another Palmer corner was only cleared back as far as the young midfielder and when he sent to deliver it back into the middle Richard Stearman was adjudged to have tried to block it with a hand. Lucas Akins stepped up to take the penalty but Ikeme guessed right and made the save low to his right.
Wolves looked to take inspiration from Ikeme's heroics but it was still Albion pressing and they came agonisingly close to scoring on the half hour. More patient build up, particularly from the ever impressive Palmer opened up space for Dyer in space on the left. Driving into the box, the wing back drilled a low ball through the box with O'Grady agonisingly close to converting at the back post. Referee Adcock's award of a corner to the Brewers showed that it was a slight deflection off loan defender Cameron Borthwick-Jackson that prevented O'Grady from netting his first League goal for the club.
Wolves were handed an opportunity to swing in a gtesting set piece five minutes from the break when Ben Turner brought down Helder Costa on the touchline to pick up a booking. Albion dealt with the free kick well enough but were in trouble moments later when a poor pass out of defence by skipper Kyle McFadzean left the BRewers short at the back. In trying to get back the big centre half collided with Gladon and allowed Teixeira room to drive forward. When the ball broke to record signing Ivan Cavaleiro on the left hand side of the box the corner of the goal seemed to open up for him but his curling shot was excellently clawed away to safety by McLaughlin.
Albion went into half time and would have been disappointed not to be ahead given they had created the better opportunities and also missed a penalty.
Half time: Wolves 0-0 Burton Albion
Whatever Walter Zenga said to his Wolves team at half time seemed to pep them up a bit with the home side driving at the Brewers from the start. Albion were having to defend with great discipline and with Turner on a yellow card it was nervy at times, the big defender cautious not to dive in and concede anything.
Stearman was the first home player to go in the book for a similar infringement to that of Turner's with an ungainly challenge that felled Akins and referee Adcock was getting rather busy, drawing out a card for Tom Naylor for what looked like a reasonable challenge on Prince Oniangue.
The game became somewhat scrappy and was broken up for a stoppage when Teixeira required treatment after a collision with O'Grady on the edge of the Burton box. The Portuguese did return to action briefly but was taken off by Zenga on the hour mark in favour of striker Joe Mason.
Stearman guided a header of the target from a free kick on the left and it was all hands to the pumps when a corner came in from the left, John Brayford putting his head in bravely to clear the danger eventually with McFadzean down inside the box and requiring the attention of Nick Fenton before being able to continue.
When Costa went to ground on a lung bursting run through the centre it looked as though McFadzean might be the next to see yellow from Mr Adcock but the well positioned official had spotted that there was no contact at all between the two and it was in fact Costa that found himself in the book, the fleet footed forward dumbfounded to see the card waved in his direction.
Twenty minutes were left when both sides made changes. Wolves second swap saw their Icelandic international striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson thrown into action in place of Gladon whilst Albion brought on Hamza Choudhury for Akins.
Bodvarsson should really have scored with his first touch. Borthwick-Jackson swung over a superb cross from the left and the big striker got his header all wrong planting it firmly into the ground but not enough to seriously trouble McLaughlin. The chances continued to come for Wolves and as the ball pinged around the Burton box McFadzean almost saw the ball bounce off him and into the net. The corner that resulted fell kindly for Mason who drilled his shot just wide.
Having soaked up a lot of pressure Albion had a great chance to hit Wolves with the sucker punch. A typically driving run from Dyer down the left enabled the winger to send in a cross for O'Grady. Back to goal he laid the ball back into the path of Choudhury only for the Leicester loanee to fluff his lines and drag his shot wide.
It proved to be a costly miss as Wolves went straight down the other end and grabbed the lead on 77 minutes. Bodvarsson and Mason showed great persistence inside the Burton box to try and work a shooting chance and when the ball eventually found its way to the feet of ONIANGUE he made no mistake sweeping the ball home from eight yards.
Mason should have made it two three minutes later as an invigorated home side went in search of a killer second. Finding himself inside the six yard box and with room to turn it looked like he had a tap in but an outstanding challenge from Turner made sure that his shot deflected over the bar.
It looked as though the game was up for Albion's ex Cardiff defender inside the last ten minutes when Wolves worked the ball down the right and Conor Coady went to ground as he went around Turner. Out came referee Adcock's yellow card once more but again he ruled that the Wolves player had gone to ground too easily and it was Coady that picked up the card.
With Will Miller having already replaced Ward in the Burton front line the final change for Albion saw Marcus Harness replacing Naylor on the right.
Six minutes of added time gave Albion renewed hope that they could salvage something from the game and they duly did it in the fourth minute that referee Adcock had added on. Harness was the instigstor with a deep cross the the back post that eluded everyone apart from Dyer. The experienced winger could easily have tried his luck from an acute angle but instead put the ball back across the box for MILLER to slide in and score his first senior goal. And what an important goal it was.
Wolves almost snatched an even later winner when defender Matt Doherty found the ball at his feet but he was unable to sort his feet out in order to get a shot away and Brayford was able to get it clear.
Albion had left it late, very late but they left Molineux with another hard earned point on their Championship voyage of discovery.