WILL Miller's first goal for over two years got Albion off to the perfect start against Plymouth Argyle but the visitors fought back to grab a share of the spoils in the final Pirelli Stadium action of 2018
Miller fired home after excellent work from Ben Fox down the right on four minutes but as chances came and went at both ends, ultimately it was the struggling Pilgrims who snatched a point when Ruben Lameiras' effort proved too powerful for Brad Collins to keep out early in the second half.
With Jake Hesketh already ruled out with the hamstring problem that curtailed his Boxing Day involvement there was guaranteed to be at least one change for Albion and it was Miller who got the nod to start on the left hand side. There was also a change at the back where Ben Turner was not risked having reported in with a slightly tight hamstring. Fox came in slotting in at right back as John Brayford moved inside.
And it was the two new faces that combined to give the Brewers just the start they wanted. Fox halted a promising run from Argyle dangerman Freddie Ladapo on the right and after an exchange of passes was bursting away into the box. After calmly looking at his options the young full back picked out the supporting run of MILLER who showed great composure to finish the move off.
Plymouth quickly threatened an equaliser with both Graham Carey and Antoni Sarcevic going close but Albion really should have doubled their advantage on ten minutes. A superb ball over the top from Fox released Lucas Akins and his low cross seemed perfect for Jamie Allen to sweep the ball home but he couldnt keep his effort down as it fizzed just over the bar.
A slip from Quinn allowed Plymouth to counter again quickly and Sarcevic, like Allen was left to bemoan poor finishing as he again failed to hit the target. Reece Hutchinson also surrendered possession too easily in a dangerous area allowing Ladapo to advance forwards but after finding Carey on the left, Argyle could still not find a way through as Fox did sterling defesnive work to deflect the Scot's effort well off target.
Miller was looking lively on the left hand side and twice he was able to trick his way inside before firing in angled efforts that Kyle Letheren in the Argyle goal was relieved to hold on to. The visitors had to make a change just before the half hour mark, right back Joe Riley heading for the bench to be replaced by Ashley Smith-Brown. Albion quickly looked to capitalise on the change with Akins drifting out wide to pick up the ball before lashing in an angled drive that was not that far azwa from finding the back of the net.
Harness almost fed Miller through again but the former Spurs youngster could not quite get the ball under his spell to get a shot away and as Albion kept up the pressure in search of a second it was Miller digging out a cross for Allen at the near post, Allen just unable to twist himself around enough to guide the ball onto the target.
When Scott Fraser threaded the ball through on 37 minutes it was Miller again, this time getting there just ahead of Letheren but only able to steer the ball just wide.
Plymouth were far from out of this and Ryan Edwards landed a header on top of the goal from a corner as the visitors threatened from a corner and a long ball over the top picked out the run of Sarcevic with Brayford having to provide the cover to ensure he could not get a shot on target.
Half time: Burton Albion 1-0 Plymouth Argyle
Carey was still proving to be the biggest threat to the Burton lead when the second half got under way, a strong run through the middle finishing with a low shot that forced Collins to show good handling low to his left to prevent an equaliser quicker than Albion had managed to take the lead in the first half.
Stephen Quinn saw a low shot blocked but the warning signs were there for Albion and they failed to heed them as Argyle equalised on 52 minutes. Carey once again caused the problems jinking his way down the right before picking out LAMEIRAS on the opposite side, the midfielder rifling in a shot that Collins found too hot to handle as it crept over the line.
Albion quickly had to chance to put themselves back in the driving seat but after a superb run from Fox down the right his cross was on a plate for Harness who failed to keep his shot down. An excellent chance gone begging.
Lameiras almost made them pay for that miss with another shot that looked bound for the goal until Buxton made an important block to send it wide.
Kieran Wallace and Damien McCrory provided fresh legs for Albion but it was Harness, still full of running who crafted the next opportunity with a deep cross that Hutchinson rescued to provide a chance for Akins to just steer his header back across goal wide of the post.
It was end to end stuff now and Buxton provided an important block to deny Carey once again as the visitors threatened again down the right side of Albion's box.
With Hutchinson now pushing forwards after the introduction of McCrory for Miller chances opened up but a low drilled effort failed to seriously trouble Letheren who gratefully clung onto the ball.
Brayford headed over late on from a corner but neither side could find that late moment of quality to snatch all three points.