ALBION produced a stunning first half performance to send the Boxing Day crowd home happy with a 3-0 victory over Lincoln City.
In a scintilating first half the Brewers were ahead on five minutes when Sam Hughes headed home before Jonny Smith produced an outstanding finish to double Albion’s lead with Victor Adeboyejo firing home a penalty to put Albion in complete control.
After the disappointment of defeat at Barnsley before Christmas it was a case for two changes for the visit of Lincoln. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Jonny Smith both returned as Tyler Onyango and Joe Dodoo dropped to the bench.
It was Albion who made a brisk start with the visiting defence under pressure from the off. An early corner was one off the training ground as the ball was aimed towards the on-rushing Tom Hamer who headed goalwards where the ball was hastily scrambled away but only as far as Terry Taylor who put the ball back in where it was half cleared again with Smith running on to fire the ball over.
Albion maintained the pressure and were in front on five minutes. Good progress down the left coin a throw and after exchanging passes with Borthwick-Jackson swung in a cross that was just begging HUGHES to head it home and the big centre-back did not disappoint, comprehensively beating Carl Rushworth from six yards out.
Lincoln tried to respond but they almost got caught on the counter when Deji Oshilaja won a scramble on the edge of the Albion box and sent Smith scampering away but Regan Poole was able to get a vital foot in to divert the ball away.
SMITH was not to be denied though and the winger produced a stunning finish on fourteen minutes to have Albion two ahead. Picking up the ball close to the touchline he saw space to cut inside and from twenty yards curled a wonderful effort beyond the bemused Lincoln keeper.
The away side were struggling to get into the game and Albion’s afternoon was about to get even better when referee Ben Toner pointed to the spot when Paudie O’Connor was too forceful in manhandling Hughes as he looked to get his head to a corner. ADEBOYEJO grabbed the ball and gave Rushworth no chance with the penalty.
Albion’s leading scorer thought he had gone close to a fourth shortly before half time but he was denied by both a defensive deflection and an offside flag from the assistant.
Half time: Burton Albion 3-0 Lincoln City
When the sides reappeared for the seconds half Lincoln had made their second change in an attempt to salvage something from the game. They had already made one change late in the first half but brought Lasse Sorensen on at the start of the second half to bolster their struggling midfield.
The visitors took a while to show signs of life but it was former Albion winger Charles Vernam that kept Ben Garratt on his toes on 63 minutes with a rasping effort that the Brewers keeper had to push away from danger. And the Albion stopper had to be alert when Jack Diamond capitalised on a loose ball to drill a low shot that Garratt saved at the second attempt.
Adeboyejo was on the end of a superb passage of play that had Brayford play him in on goal but this time Rushworth was able to stand tall and save.
Dodoo and Onyango got late run outs as Albion continued to do a professional job of keeping Lincoln out whilst maintaining a threat as they looked for a fourth goal to really cap off a good afternoon’s work.
Former Imps winger Mustapha Carayol came on in the final seconds before referee Toner brought proceedings to a close on a thoroughly great afternoon for Albion who will be looking to finish the year on a high against Forest Green on Thursday
ALBION: Garratt; Hughes, Brayford, Ndaba; Hamer, Oshilaja, Taylor, Borthwick-Jackson; Smith (Onyango, 87), Adeboyejo (Carayol, 90, Kamwa (Dodoo, 72).
Substitutes: Sinisalo, Powell, Mariappa, Keillor-Dunn, Carayol.
GOALS: ALBION - Hughes (5), Smith (14), Adeboyejo (27 pen)
Referee: Ben Toner