BURTON Albion suffered a 2-1 defeat on the opening day of the 2020/21 Sky Bet League One season away at Fleetwood Town.
Callum Camps and Paddy Madden netted in each half, either side of a John Brayford header from a corner, as the Brewers were reduced to 10 men late on following a red card for John-Joe O'Toole.
Albion started with the same XI that ended the Carabao Cup first round victory over Accrington Stanley eight days prior, with Steven Lawless replacing the injured Charles Vernam in the only change from that game.
It meant Ben Garratt lining up in goal after Teddy Sharman-Lowe kept net in the midweek EFL Trophy game against Peterborough United.
And Garratt was equal to the first shot on goal of the game as Ched Evans’ header from a Callum Camps’ cross was held well by the Brewers’ stopper.
Aside from that it was an attritional opening period with few clear-cut chances, Albion unable to test Alex Cairns despite working the ball forward well, and the hosts would take the lead from a second phase of a corner on 17 minutes.
The set piece was headed towards the edge of the box but it fell to CAMPS who rifled one home from 15 yards.
Chances remained few and far between but it was Albion who had hard lines just shy of the half-hour mark. Powell showed a wicked turn of pace to beat his man on the right flank and put an excellent low ball into the box, touched back by Akins to Quinn, just inside the box.
Quinn side-footed a measured effort at goal and Alex Cairns was beaten, but it hit the crossbar, bounced on the line and agonisingly away from goal.
Town would hit the woodwork minutes later, James Hill getting his head onto a delivery from a free kick and sending an effort across Garratt but bouncing off the far post.
Albion began knocking on the door at the end of the first half - a tricky corner delivery from Powell into the box caused havoc with Cairns punching the ball out to Brayford, bouncing off the captain and heading back towards goal but blocked by a Fleetwood defender before it could rebound in.
HALF-TIME: FLEETWOOD TOWN 1-0 BURTON ALBION
The hosts would hit the bar, again rattling the woodwork through Hill, from a corner early in the second half as they looked to extend their lead bu their succession of corners would eventually come to naught.
But Albion would keep pressing and got their rewards in the 66th minute. Powell's wicked corner was whipped to the back post where BRAYFORD powered a header back across goal and into the back of the net.
The goal was not given for a considerable amount of time as the assistant had flagged for an offside, presumably for Hemmings interfering with the goalkeeper's line of sight, but following the lengthy discussion, the goal was rightly given.
Powell tested Cairns with a low effort from 18 yards on 77 minutes before at the other end Garratt pulled off an excellent save to deny Camps, who sent a wicked dipping volley at goal as the ball sat up nicely for him.
But the hosts would take the lead again with 11 minutes of regular time to play - former Brewer Mark Duffy's shot deflected fortuitously to MADDEN who turned the ball past Garratt from close range.
Akins was the next player to hit the woodwork when his deflected effort on 82 minutes looped over Cairns but onto the crossbar and out for a corner.
Albion kept pressing but they were reduced to 10 men in the final stages, John-Joe O'Toole dismissed as he went in for a challenge but was adjudged to have caught Duffy with a high foot.
FULL-TIME: FLEETWOOD TOWN 2-1 BURTON ALBION
GOALS: Camps 17, Madden 79 (Fleetwood). Brayford 66 (Brewers).
FLEETWOOD: Cairns, Andrew, Whelan, Burns, Evans, Camps (Matete 85), Morris (Duffy 64), Coutts (C), Madden, Stubbs, Hill. Subs not used: Leutwiler (GK), Saunders, Boyes, Garner, Holgate.
BREWERS: Garratt, Brayford (C), Bostwick, Wallace, Quinn, Powell (Edwards 87), Hemmings, Akins, Lawless (Daniel 85), O'Toole, Eardley (Fox 69). Subs not used: Sharman-Lowe (GK), Gallacher, Gilligan, Hewlett.
YELLOW CARDS: Burns 19 (Fleetwood). Bostwick 70 (Brewers).
RED CARDS: O'Toole 90+6.
REFEREE: Martin Coy (County Durham)