ALBION slipped to a 2-1 defeat away at Vanarama National League North side Alfreton Town at the Impact Arena as the build-up to the new season continued.
Veteran striker Matt Rhead bagged a first half brace, including one from the penalty spot, as the hosts set about their task of unsettling a Brewers side showing eight changes from the side that started against Premier League Leicester City at the weekend. Manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink gave a number of players chances to impress, including academy graduates Luke Redfern and Thierry Latty-Fairweather who lined up in a much changed back four. Redfern was paired with Frazer Blake-Tracy at centre back, the summer signing from Peterborough United making his first start of pre-season whilst Latty-Fairweather slotted in at left back.
Albion made a number of changes after the break and a better performance saw Joe Powell convert from the spot just after the hour when new signing Ryan Leak, unveiled just prior to kick-off saw his header blocked by Dan Bradley.
The Brewers started brightly with a raking ball out to the left from Powell picking out the run of Omari Patrick, the winger eventually winning a corner. Powell swung the ball in and it was Latty-Fairweather who got up well to put his header just wide of the post.
Alfreton began to come forwards and Bobby Johnson twice forced Ellery Balcombe into saves, the first a tame curling effort easily saved low to his left but the second a fine save at full stretch to turn away a well hit free-kick.
And the early promise shown by the hosts was rewarded on 14 minutes when Johnson this time turned provider with a cross from the left that found the head of RHEAD to power home from six yards, the burly striker shrugging off the attentions of his marker to score.
Rhead was proving a real handful for the new look Brewers centre back partnership with a headed effort and a 34th minute shot both requiring Balcombe to come and gather safely to prevent the Reds doubling their advantage.
Town and RHEAD had their second on 38 minutes when Redfern was adjudged to have brought down Elliott Reeves giving the former Lincoln striker the chance to score from the spot. Rhead sent Balcombe the wrong way to give the Brewers plenty of food for thought.
Half time: Alfreton Town 2-0 Burton Albion
Albion made three changes at the break with Brayford, Oshilaja and Akins all getting a break as Ben McLean, Tom O'Connor and Kane Hemmings entered the action.
Both sides began the second half brightly in search of the next goal and it was Alfreton who went closest with Ethan Stewart rising highest to unsettle the Brewers defence from a corner and sne his header just over the bar.
Leak made an immediate impression after coming on as a subsitute on the hour mark, after being urged forwards by his manager his header from a corner struck a hand in the Alfreton six-yard box allowing POWELL to fire home from the penalty spot.
And the equaliser was just inches away when Patrick superbly brought a long diagonal pass and cut inside his man to send a wickedly curling effort against the post.
Powell cut in dangerously off the right hand side on 73 minutes but with options opening up for him he opted for the shot failing to hit the target.
Both sides could have added to the scoring with Reeves forcing Balcombe to save low to his right after a swift break and Hemmings forcing George Willis in the Alfreton goal into a full length save to keep out an effort that was arrowing into the top corner with eight minutes remaining.
More good Albion play created an opening for Conor Shaughnessy on the edge of the box with five minutes to go but through a crowded penalty area his low shot was deflected wide.
Albion now turn their attentions to the visit of Newcastle United on Friday evening at the Pirelli Stadium in the second of two home friendlies against Premier League opposition.
ALBION: Balcombe, Brayford (McLean, 46), Oshilaja (O'Connor, 46), Powell, Akins (Hemmings, 46), Patrick, Shaughnessy, Blake-Tracy (Leak, 60), Taylor, Redfern, Latty-Fairweather.
Substitutes: Garratt, Hawkins, Smith, Maddox, Hamer, Mancienne.
GOALS: REDS - Rhead (14, 38 pen); ALBION - Powell (61 pen)