Brewers stay on roll but suffer a scare as the Shrimps stage late comeback
BURTON Albion's promotion charge goes on and, for 80 minutes against Morecambe last night, they were as clinical and sharp as at any time in what is now a seven-match unbeaten run.
That Morecambe, 3-0 down and looking thoroughly demoralised, scored two late goals to give the Brewers a nervous finish took a little of the shine off the night but, in the end, the last few minutes will only serve to focus manager Gary Rowett's thoughts on preparing his squad for the next match.
They play with such energy that a dip towards the end of a second game in four days was perhaps understandable.
Although Morecambe had more of the early possession, the Brewers were soon showing the same drive going forward that has characterised their recent good run and, in the seventh minute, Alex MacDonald curled a 20-yard shot a foot wide when Michael Symes headed down a ball forward from Marcus Holness.
Gary McDonald and Stewart Drummond had shots blocked inside the penalty area as Morecambe hit back but the Brewers took the lead after a superb move in the 17th minute.
Symes, holding the ball up effectively again, slid a precision pass for MacDonald to run on to. The winger pulled the ball back for the onrushing Robbie Weir, whose shot was parried to his right by Morecambe keeper Barry Roche – but only into the path of Jacques Maghoma, who slid the ball in from close range.
Burton almost made it two immediately, as Symes beat the offside trap on to a ball from Maghoma and was twice denied by Roche.
It was a purple patch from the Brewers and Roche soon had to turn over an Ian Sharps header from a corner. Weir, running from deep, glanced a header over from the next corner.
Morecambe quelled that spell of pressure but MacDonald might have done better than drive a shot wide when Maghoma's shot from Lee Bell's pass was deflected against the bar.
In first half stoppage time, Burton scored again.
A free kick 25 yards out was teed up for MacDonald, whose shot hit the wall.
Anthony O'Connor's follow-up shot was blocked, looped up, and the smallest man after it, Kee, out-jumped the defence to head home.
Morecambe found themselves 3-0 down shortly after the interval.
MacDonald, having his best game so far for the club, crossed from the right, Symes headed it down and Kee, near the penalty spot, buried a spectacular volley.
O'Connor blocked out a shot from Ellison but, at this point, Morecambe were looking a demoralised side.
The only downside for Burton was when Maghoma, hurt in a challenge, limped off after 63 minutes to give Jimmy Phillips a rare chance to shine.
That he did after 68 minutes, bursting through the middle to tee up Weir for a low shot which Roche was just able to turn away.
Stuart Tomlinson had his first shot to save after 76 minutes, turning away a 12-yard shot from Jordan Burrow.
But the Brewers, despite looking comfortable conceded a needless goal with 10 minutes left.
Damien McCrory blatantly shoved Chris Holrioyd to the ground 16 yards out with the Morecambe striker going nowhere and substitute Jack Redshaw smashed in the penalty.
Suddenly, Morecambe had a good spell and Tomlinson had to beat away a shot from Redshaw two minutes after the goal.
Burton seemed to have ridden out the storm after that but Holroyd got away from McCrory in the second minute of stoppage time to rifle a shot into the roof of the net from 12 yards and create a nervous ending.
There was still time for Redshaw to send a 30-yard drive whistling over Tomlinson's bar but, finally, an eighth home win in succession was safe and it is also the first time in the Football League Burton have won four games in succession.