BURTON Albion advanced to the second round of the Birmingham Senior Cup on penalties following a 2-2 draw away at Stratford Town.
Several first-teamers needing minutes, including midfielders Tom O’Connor and Jacob Maddox as they continue their recovery from injuries, and a handful of Academy prospects made the journey to Arden Garages Stadium this evening.
Maddox would get Albion’s second of the night after Omari Patrick had levelled matters just shy of half-time, while Owen James netted twice for the hosts after a lively performance.
Ellery Balcombe started in goal with Ciaran Gilligan and captain Frazer Blake-Tracy at full-back, either side of young pros Luke Redfern and Thierry Latty-Fairweather at centre-half.
O’Connor and Maddox made up the midfield three along with Terry Taylor, with Patrick and Joe Nyahwema starting either side of lone striker Aaron Amadi-Holloway.
O’Connor was among the early chances for the Brewers, seeing one low effort from 18 yards saved well by keeper Louis Beresford.
But James was looking lively for the hosts and made one fine surging run through the midfield on 19 minutes, but could not get enough power behind his shot and Balcombe was able to save.
O’Connor got his head on the end of a free-kick but could only steer it wide, and Albion were made to pay for that moments later as JAMES dispossessed Balcombe, chased the loose ball and finished well on the turn.
Amadi-Holloway headed his own effort wide moments later as Albion pushed for an equaliser, and Patrick was sent through on goal by a good through ball from midfield but, in trying to lift the ball over Beresford on the bounce, could not get enough loft on it and the keeper made the save.
The former Carlisle winger was not to be denied for long though and as Amadi-Holloway flicked a corner at goal, PATRICK was unmarked and powered his own header at goal. Beresford saved from point-blank range but Patrick turned the ball home on the rebound.
HALF-TIME: STRATFORD TOWN 1-1 BURTON ALBION
Substitute John-Joe Power caused problems for Stratford following his half-time introduction and did well to surge into space before unleashing a powerful drive from 25 yards that Beresford did brilliantly to parry away acrobatically.
And on the hour, Albion had the lead - MADDOX making space for himself and drilling a low effort to the bottom-left corner from 18 yards.
But James did well to intercept a backpass with seven minutes to play and, despite the angle being tight, curled an effort in from close to the touchline.
It went to penalties from there - with Amadi-Holloway, Taylor and Gilligan all despatching their spot kicks and Balcombe making two fine saves to send Albion through to the second round.
FULL-TIME: STRATFORD TOWN 2-2 BURTON ALBION (BREWERS WIN 3-0 ON PENALTIES)
GOALS: James 30, 83 (Stratford). Patrick 43, Maddox 60 (Brewers)
BREWERS: Balcombe, Gilligan, Redfern, Latty-Fairweather, Blake-Tracy (Emery 65), O'Connor (Power 46), Taylor, Patrick (Niven 46), Maddox (Hill 65), Nyahwema, Amadi-Holloway. Sub not used: Moore.