ALBION suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat against Shrewsbury Town as the home campaign for 2023 got off to the worst possible start.
Former loan striker Christian Saydee did the first half damage, scoring twice, the first after just nineteen seconds and Albion were unable to recover as he fired home a second just before half time, skipper Luke Leahy firing home a penalty before the hour mark and defender Chey Dunkley heading home a stoppage time fourth for Steve Cotterill's men.
New signing Mark Helm was the only change from the side that slipped out of the FA Cup at Grimsby last weekend, He replaced Tyler Onyango as Albion stuck with their 3-4-3 shape. Sheffield United loanee Jordan Amissah continued in goal with Friday signing Craig MacGillivray starting his Albion career on the bench.
But it was SAYDEE who enjoyed a goalscoring return to the Pirelli when he ended up with the ball at his feet when Amissah came to the edge of his box to try and clear a ball forward from Rob Street and saw the ball bounce off the Bournemouth loanee allowing him to roll the ball into the empty net with only nineteen seconds on the clock.
Jordan Shipley was wasteful a header at the back post on seven minutes and was then booked for unceremoniously wrestling Bobby Kamwa to the ground as he looked to attack down the right. Albion threatened an equaliser in a spell of pressure and John Brayford was inches away from getting the Brewers level with a back post header that was superbly cleared off the line by Chey Dunkley.
Helm was close to a debut goal with a shot on the turn on twenty minutes, his low shot blocked and falling for Deji Oshilaja to hit an effort that was deflected inches wide of the far post.
Albion continued to pose the greater threat but the Shrews defence was disciplined and resolute in trying to keep them out.
Shrewsbury pressed more as half time approached and they had a second goal two minutes before the break as a scramble in the box saw the ball fall loose for SAYDEE to curl home a precise effort into the bottom corner despite strong shouts for a high boot from Street as Tom Hamer tried to clear earlier in the attack.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-2 Shrewsbury Town
Terry Taylor failed to reappear for the second half as Albion changed shape and personnel with Sam Winnall brought on to partner Victor Adeboyejo in attack. In enabled the Brewers to switch to a 4-4-2 as they pushed for a route back into the game.
That became even more difficult when LEAHY won and converted a penalty on 58 minutes after a challenge from Tom Hamer near the bye line sent him tumbling. The Shrews skipper stepped up confidently and sent Amissah the wrong way from the spot.
Leahy struck a thunderbolt towards goal at the end of a swift counter-attack but Amissah was right behind it to beat the ball away from danger.
Albion turned to Mustapha Carayol with twenty minutes to go as the hard-working Kamwa was withdrawn from the action.
Jonny Smith fired wide after a mazy run on 75 minutes, a sign of Albion’s frustrating afternoon.
And it was a similar result when Carayol cut inside and hit an ambitious effort from distance with just over five minutes remaining. A difficult chance also fell to Winnall after a promising Burton move but under pressure he lifted his shot on the turn over the bar.
A hugely disappointing afternoon for the Brewers was capped off when the visitors scored a fourth goal in added on time, DUNKLEY getting up at the back post to head home despite Amissah’s attempts to keep it out.
ALBION: Amissah; Hamer, Brayford, Ndaba; Kamwa, (Carayol, 71) Taylor (Winnall, 46), Oshilaja, Borthwick-Jackson; Smith, Adeboyejo, Helm.
Substitutes: MacGillivray, Powell, Keillor-Dunn, Onyango, Dodoo.
GOALS: SHREWSBURY - Saydee (1, 43), Leahy (58 pen), Dunkley (90+4)
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge