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MATCH REPORT: NUNEATON BOROUGH 4-3 BURTON ALBION

16 October 2018

BURTON Albion were knocked out of the Birmingham Senior Cup following a 4-3 defeat to Nuneaton Borough at Liberty Way.

Having gone in 2-0 down at half-time, The Brewers fought back to lead 3-2 through goals from Joe Sbarra, Devante Cole and Marcus Harness.

But two late Boro goals saw Albion suffer defeat on a cold Autumn night under the floodlights at Liberty Way.

While The Brewers started with some players around the first team - on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Brad Collins starting as he recovers from a back injury - there were several Academy prospects and graduates in the starting XI.

Tom Armitage and Ben Hart started at full-back with captain Jake Buxton partnered by 16-year-old Academy player Rueben Lal at the back.

Harness and Elliot Hodge were the wingers, either side of a central midfield pair of Reece Hutchinson and a trialist.

Cole started up front with Sbarra playing just off him.

Albion had the first real chance of the game on 18 minutes, when Armitage burst through down the left and saw a low shot blocked by the feet of Cameron Belford. The rebound fell to the Brewers youngster and he squared to Cole, who curled over the bar from 15 yards.

Belford was called into action again five minutes later, this time to deny Hutchinson, who was slipped in by a neat through ball from Sbarra.

Nuneaton would subsequently take the lead after 26 minutes, Andoh picking up on the ball after an unfortunate deflection off a defender. The winger raced clear, rounded Collins and finished.

It would be 2-0 eight minutes before the break through a superb strike from Courtney Richards - the midfielder taking the ball down 30 yards out and unleashing a fierce effort that went straight to the top-left corner.

Albion went in two goals down at the break despite late efforts from Sbarra and Cole being saved well by Belford, but Nigel Clough’s side would come back out on the front foot immediately after the restart.

Hodge did well to make space down the left flank, advancing well and drilling a low ball back for Sbarra, who saw an initial shot blocked by the legs of Belford, but the ball bounced favourably and the young midfielder made no mistake at the second attempt with his finish.

And the scores were level just shy of the hour. Harness, an increasing influence on the right, did brilliantly to burn his full-back for pace and drill a cross into the six-yard box, which Cole powered home from close range.

And it was 3-2 with 14 minutes to go - Harness working his way into the box and drilling a powerful effort into the top-right corner.

There was time for one or two more twists however - Andoh’s low shot was well saved by Collins as Nuneaton pressed for an equaliser on 86 minutes - and Dior Angus was there to finish from close range.

And in the fifth minute of added time, a tangle in the box saw the referee give a penalty to the hosts. Angus saw his spot kick saved by Collins, only for Karo Mitchell to follow up and settle the tie.

BREWERS: Collins, Hart, Lal (Beardsley), Buxton, Armitage, Hodge, Trialist, Hutchinson, Harness, Sbarra, Cole.


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