ALBION'S run of festive wins came to an abrupt halt as they went down to a 2-0 defeat at in-form Accrington Stanley
The home side, in excellent form on their own patch of late, scored in each half through skipper Sean McConville and central defender Ross Sykes to grab the points from an evenly contested game.
Albion were more than a match for their confident opponents in the first half but only really forced keeper Josef Bursik into one save of note in the opening period whilst striker Liam Boyce clipped the woodwork with a rare second half chance after the Brewers fluidity had been somewhat compromised by having to make three half time substitutions.
Stanley capitalised and imposed themselves more after the break and Sykes towering header eventually game them a comfortable lead that the Brewers could not threaten.
After the thrills and spills of the Boxing Day victory over Tranmere Rovers, Brewers boss Nigel Clough opted for an unchanged starting eleven for the end of year trip to the Wham Stadium. The only change to the squad came on the bench where Kieran Wallace dropped out through illness, academy product Teddy Sharman-Lowe taking his place amongst the substitutes.
The hosts started brightly but it was Albion who settled into their passing game first with some patient probing in an around the Stanley box. However it was the home side with the first real effort on goal as striker Offrande Zanzala having an opportunity from the edge of the box but under pressure he could only steer his effort wide of the target.
And as the home side began to grow in confidence a swift move down the left allowed skipper Sean McConvlle to whip a ball into the box that Kieran O'Hara got something on to turn it around the post.
Despite Albion seeming to have more of the play it was Accy making the more dangerous chances, Zanzala testing O'Hara with a low shot on 17 minutes that the keeper had to clear with his foot with an Albion defender there to clear first before Dion Charles could pounce on the loose ball.
When Jordan Clark was bundled over in midfield moments later it gave McConville a chance to set his sights from a free kick and although his curling effort was on target, O'Hara was equal to it to push the ball away from danger.
Albion then produced their best moment so far, Colin Daniel's header allowing Liam Boyce to burst through the middle and bring Oliver Sarkic into play on his right. The pass forced Sarkic slightly wider than he might have liked but his cross picked out Lucas Akins but his first time shot was blocked by the legs of Stanley keeper Josef Bursik.
It continued to be a pretty even game and a great chance opened up for Albion on 35 minutes when Fraser played Daniel in down the left. It was begging for a first time shot but the left back took a touch which narrowed the angle down and eventually forced him to shoot into the side netting.
Stanley got the breakthrough in the game on 39 minutes, a long ball down the right got the home side on the attack and when the ball was played into the box it bounced up kindly for McCONVILLE who swept it home into the far corner beyond O'Hara.
It was a blow for Albion who had been good in the first half but just lacking that killer touch. All to do in the second period.
Half time: Accrington Stanley 1-0 Burton Albion
When the sides emerged for the second period Albion had made all three of their substitutions. John Brayford, Oliver Sarkic and Stephen Quinn all failed to reappear for the resumptionand as the sides lined up David Templeton was wide out on the right, Joe Sbarra was in the centre of midfield and Ben Hart was in at right back.
As Albion tried to settle, Stanley had the ball in the back of the net through Zanzala but the flag of the assistant quickly ruled his effort out.
The home side could easily have doubled their lead in the opening minutes as Zanzala went close again but was crowded out at the vital moment.
Albion went close with a rapid break on the hour mark as Boyce picked up a ball from Akins and tried to find the top corner from the edge of the box but clipped the woodwork instead.
Stanley's pressure eventually told on 65 minutes when McConville's free kick from the right was met by a towering header from SYKES who was able to guide his header just inside the post.
Albion had something of a let off on 79 minutes when O'Hara dallied on the ball looking for options to play out to and was closed down by Dion Charles but the striker was harried sufficiently by the recovering keeper that he was not able to punish the Albion keeper witha third goal.
O'Hara redeemed himself with an excellent save on 85 minutes when another McConville set piece caused problems inside the Burton area and Zanzala's close range header was going in until the on loan Manchester United man stuck out a hand to push it over the bar.
There was to be no late rally and Stanley in the end looked good value for the points as they made it four consecutive home wins in all competitions.