The Young Brewers suffered their first EFL Youth Alliance home defeat in five games with a 1-0 loss to Bradford City.
Harvey Rowe scored the only goal of the game five minutes before the break, firing the ball past Teddy Sharman-Lowe from close-range.
The Young Brewers started with high-intensity and were almost rewarded with a goal after six minutes when Matty Richardson took aim from range, but he saw his curling shot whistle over the top of the crossbar.
The home side continued to threaten their Yorkshire opponents and tested the Bantams goalkeeper through a Mitchell White header. The striker flicked on Oliver Waddison’s cross towards goal, which Darryl Ombang held onto.
Professional Development Phase Coach Sam Rose confirmed that the start was how he envisaged it, saying: “It’s something we worked on. We changed the shape to a diamond midfield and two players up front. We knew Bradford would play out from the back and go out through the centre-backs.
“I thought for the first 20 minutes we did it really well. It’s difficult to maintain that, because it takes so much out of the legs. But when we got it right, I thought we got into some good positions to win the ball back high up.
“We just didn’t capitalise on it. We didn’t create anything from it so that is the frustrating thing.”
The away side began to grow into the game after quarter of an hour with Oliver Sukiennicki causing a few problems. His first attempt flew well over the goal before he forced Sharman-Lowe into a save three minutes later.
Despite a ferocious start, the two sides struggle to create many chances from there on in, however, it was the visitors that took the lead six minutes before the break.
The ball bounced to Rowe on the right side of the area, following a fortuitous 50/50 challenge, and he fired his strike across goal and into the top left corner of the net to give Bradford the lead going into half-time.
Speaking about the goal, Rose said: “I think we took the sting out a lot of their good play. As much as they had good spells on the ball, they didn’t cause many problems.
“The one goal we did concede was a deep cross from the left-back. The centre-half wasn’t in position to head the ball and our left-back hasn’t cleared it.
“That’s the difference really today and that’s why we’ve had to chase the game in the second half. That’s the disappointing thing. We’ve lost the game because of a simple defensive error.”
Burton started the second period in the same vein of the first, with plenty of possession and almost reaped their rewards nine minutes into the half when Ben McLean played a fantastic through ball to Waddison, but he was thwarted by a good save from the Bantams keeper.
Bradford almost doubled their lead ten minutes later as captain Reece Staunton tried to cheekily swing his free-kick in at the near post, but Sharman-Lowe pulled off a great reaction save and parried the ball out for a corner.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Owen Hickson and Matty Richardson were replaced by Said Idouarab and Emmanuel Shittu.
The latter almost made an immediate impact just a minute after entering the pitch by making space inside the penalty area and launching an effort just wide of the mark.
The Young Brewers continued to look for a late equaliser and once again came inches from finding one. Idouarab looked to make an impact from the bench, but his attempt took a deflection and whistled past the left post.
They continued to push for a late goal but eventually ran out of time and fell to a rare loss at St George’s Park.
Speaking after the match, Rose was pleased with some of the side’s performance but was left to rue what could have been.
“I think Bradford deserve credit,” he stated. ‘’They’ve seen the game out; they’ve made it difficult for us.
“When you might need a ball to drop in the box and someone to have a little bit of space to get a shot off, we never really had that opportunity. But I think the second half was a big improvement on the first.
“[There was] better energy and the lads were much more competitive and we were on top for the most part.”