Joe Mason grabbed a vital equaliser just moments after coming on for his Burton Albion debut to secure a deserved point for Nigel Clough's side against Sheffield Wednesday. The Wolves loanee turned sharply inside the box with his first touch to smash home after Gary Hooper had given the visitors a first half lead.
Nigel Clough reverted to a 4-4-2 formation in search of a second successive league victory before the international break. Having successfully come through 90 minutes at Cardiff on Tuesday, Ben Turner returned to the back four for his first Championship appearance of the campaign. He partnered Jake Buxton in the middle of defence with Kyle McFadzean moving forwards into a defensive midfield role alongside Luke Murphy. New signing Sean Scannell and Lloyd Dyer offered the pace and attacking flair on the wings in support of strike pair Lucas Akins and Marvin Sordell.
Albion started briskly and McFadzean, from his advanced role almost had Albion in front in the opening moments challenging for a teasing cross from Dyer but unable to get a good contact with his header. Sordell, looking to make it two in two was inches wide from six yards out with an unchallenged header from Damien McCrory's cross on four minutes as the Brewers quickly settled.
Wednesday eventually began to get the ball down and start passing it around. Adam Reach almost got in behind the Brewers defence on nine minutes from a lofted pass from centre back Daniel Pudil but after initially hesitating, Stephen Bywater was out quickly to snuff out the threat.
Gary Hooper had the Burton defence stretched on thirteen minutes with a clever run into the left channel and after combining with Reach a chance opened up for summer signing George Boyd who scuffed a first time effort well wide.
It was an open game and Sordell had another chance to give Albion the lead on 20 minutes. Turning smartly onto a thrown in from Scannell the space opened up for a shot but on his left foot he couldnt quite generate the pace or power to beat Keiren Westwood.
Scannell showed good, quick feet on 25 minutes to cut inside and feed through a ball for Sordell to chase. It was just a little too far ahead of the Burton striker and when Westwood cleared there seemed nothing in it until the Wednesday keeper went down, clearly in some discomfort. After some lengthy treatment and initially seeming as though he would be unable to continue the planned substitution was abandoned. However, after gingerly taking the free kick and trying to play on the Irishman eventually succombed and was replaced by Joe Wildsmith.
36 minutes in, and probably against the run of play, Wednesday grabbed the lead. Gary Hooper started it with a pwerful run from deep in his own half. Continuing his run into the box having laid the ball off to Steven Fletcher, HOOPER was then in the right place to cheekily flick home from Jack Hunt's cross after Fletcher's shot had been deflected.
Another chance for Sordell opened up on 40 minutes as Wednesday failed to clear. The ball fell kindly for the Albion man after a couple of ricochets on the edge of the box but after delaying his shot for a moment a vital deflection took his shot over. From the corner Buxton powered a header straight at Wildsmith. A yard either side would have been a certain equaliser. Albion were coming closer and when Akins chased down Murphy's pass a minute later he was able to feed find Sordell again for another deflected shot.
Wednesday thought they had scored a stunning second on the stroke of half time. Reach made good ground down the left and crossed for Boyd to sweep home an excellent first time finish but the assistant had his flag up as quickly as Boyd could shoot to rule it out.
Boyd again fell victim to the offside trap as seven minutes of first half stoppage time started. Latching onto Hooper's through ball he was thwarted this time by Bywater as well as the assistant's flag.
Murphy's angled volley flew over the bar as Albion tried to find a response before the half time whistle but Albion could probably feel justifiably a little aggrieved to find themselves behind as the teams turned around.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Wednesday started more purposefully after the break and with Barry Bannan often involved looked to stretch the Burton defence. The visitors won a series of corner in the opening minutes after the break but were unable to break down the Burton defence for a second time.
Albion had injury concerns of their own when McCrory landed awkwardly following a coming together with Boyd. After attention from Nick Fenton the popular left back was back in the action. Just in time to see Albion go close to an equaliser through Scannell. Exploting space down the right, the winger, on loan from Huddersfield superbly worked the ball back onto his left foot and tested Wildsmith at his near post, the keeper getting down well to keep out his well struck effort.
McCrory, clearly feeling the effects of his knock was replaced just after the hour mark with Matty Palmer coming on and forcing a reshuffle. McFadzean dropped back into the back four allowing Palmer to assume a midfield role.
Joe Mason was introduced shortly afterward for Scannell and the man on loan from Wolves had an instant impact. A long throw in from the Burton right fell for the new man and he one one touch to control before turning superbly and firing low into the net.
Wednesday quickly went in search of their lead again and Hunt almost set it up again, a teasing low cross from the right perfectly finding Steven Fletcher who poked his shot beyond Bywater and the far post.
As the visitors continued to press big defender Daniel Pudil thought he has put the Owls back in front with a speculative hooked effort but Luke Murphy was on the line to clear.
The better chances continued to fall the way of the visitors as the game wore on. Hunt almost stole in at the back, only to be denied by Turner, now operating at left back and David Jones put the ball just over from six yards out.
Tom Flanagan almost marked his first contribution with a goal stealing in at the back post to try and convert Palmer's teasing free kick but it just eluded him.