VICTOR Adeboyejo’s eleventh goal of the season ensured that Albion took a point from a 1-1 draw with struggling MK Dons
The Brewers looked to be on course for just a second away win of the season courtesy of their leading scorer’s penalty in the first half but a strong comeback form the home side was finally rewarded when Bradley Johnson rose to head home a late equaliser and prevent Albion from closing the gap on the sides just outside the League One relegation zone to just three points.
Albion sprung something of a surprise by naming the previously doubtful Sam Hughes in the side after the defender had been expected to miss the game through injury. There was also a Brewers league debut for Ipswich Town loanee Corrie Ndaba who came through a substitute appearance against Chippenham Town in the FA Cup to stake his place for a start. Ndaba was the second of three changes for Albion as Dino Maamria also recalled Tyler Onyango after he was rested in the Cup.
The home side, unsurprisingly, enjoyed the lion’s share of the early possession but all they had for all their dominance in the first ten minutes was a flurry of corners and a long range effort from midfielder Dawson Devoy. Albion broke free of their defensive shackles and were able to force their own corner when Dons keeper Jamie Cumming unconvincingly shovelled Bobby Kamba’s cross behind.
Conor Grant also opted for the speculative long range option when MK attacked next but Hughes was out quickly to block and avert any real danger. Hughes allowed Mo Eisa to threaten the Burton box with a misplaced clearance but the Dons striker was only able to curl an effort comfortably wide of Ben Garratt’s post.
Kamwa went looking for a penalty when Jack Tucker had to ensure that the Albion striker did not capitalise on a back pass that threatened to fall short for Cumming. The defender just about got to the ball first as Kamwa was also sent tumbling but the eventual corner was played out to Onyango who shot straight at the Dons stopper.
Albion were handed a penalty on 26 minutes when a free kick routine saw the ball played back into the danger area and when Brayford missed his shot the ball fell for Ndaba who was brought down by Josh McEachran’s rash challenge. Dons defender Daniel Harvie required treatment before the spot kick could be taken but the delay failed to distract ADEBOYEJO who calmly fired home more than two minutes after the original foul.
The home side needed a response and they almost got it courtesy of Lisa on 39 minutes. Harvie, now recovered from his knock, darted into the box and fired in a low cross that the striker fired goal wards but Garratt was equal to it, saving and then dropping onto the ball at the second attempt before it could run loose.
With six additional minutes signalled after several first half stoppages Albion had to weather some pressure when Nathan Holland found Grant inside the box and the m midfielder’s effort needed deflecting wide of the target to preserve Albion’s clean sheet.
Half time: MK Dons 0-1 Burton Albion
The start of the second period followed the same sort of template as the first period with the home side dominating possession with Aston Villa loanee, Louie Barry, posing a threat on the right hanging come on as a fist half substitute. Eisa was handed a chance to test Garratt from a free-kick 22 yards out after the striker had been adjudged to have been felled by a challenge from Ndaba but his effort was always comfortably clearing the crossbar as the hour mark approached.
A slip by Deji Oshilaja allowed Tennai Watson a chance to deliver a low cross but nobody in a white shirt was advanced enough to capitalise although they were able to recycle the ball on the opposite side with Brayford needing to clear one effort before Barry fired wide through a crowded penalty area.
Onyango picked up a yellow card for a rash challenge on Holland as he ran towards the Burton goal and a clumsy nudge on Dawson Decoy had home players screaming for another yellow and subsequent red but referee Lee Swabey opted to keep his card in his pocket. Albion quickly summonsed Ciaran Gilligan from the bench and withdrew the young Everton loanee.
Barry continued to look like the home side’s best outlet for a goal and his best chance yet arrived on 71 minutes latching onto Holland’s cross field pass but after cutting inside from the left he was denied by Brayford’s sprawling block.
The home side introduced Will Grigg to try and engineer an equaliser and he got his head to a cross from Watson with eleven minutes remaining and there were anxious glances in the Albion defence as they watched it drop just wide of the goal as the Irish international found too much room in the box.
However it was another experienced head in the Dons ranks that grabbed the equaliser on 84 minutes , JOHNSON in the right place to meet an outswinging corner from Devoy with a well placed header inside the far post.
The home side sensed a winner was there for the taking and raised their game in the closing stages, Barry dribbling across the edge of the box before firing just over as the game headed deep into five added minutes. And a flurry of pressure at the very end saw Albion have to defend a couple of dangerous corners but they were seen off to ensure that the Brewers took a hard earned point back home with them.
ALBION: Garratt; Brayford, Hughes, Ndaba; Hamer, Onyango (Gilligan, 67), Taylor, Oshilaja, Borthwick-Jackson; Kamwa (Dodoo, 84). Adeboyejo.
Substitutes: Sinisalo, Butcher, Keillor-Dunn, Smith, Lakin.
GOALS: ALBION - Adeboyejo (29 pen)
Referee: Lee Swabey