Chris and Calvin on target as Brewers make no mistake in FA Cup replay
SECOND-half goals from Chris Palmer and Calvin Zola helped Burton Albion see off Altrincham in an entertaining FA Cup first round replay at Moss Lane last night.
After an even hour, Albion stamped their authority on the game in order to down the Blue Square North outfit and set up a second round trip to League One Crewe Alexandra on Saturday, December 1.
Having recently returned from nearly two months out with an ankle injury, midfielder Palmer opened the scoring in the 65th minute with a stunning free-kick from 35 yards out, the ball dipping over the wall and beyond keeper Stuart Coburn's right hand.
And just as the hosts were starting to build up a head of steam, Zola wrapped up the win thanks to a simple finish from eight yards out with 15 minutes left on the clock. It was the 27-year-old's eighth of the season and his second in this competition.
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Damian Reeves and Jake Moult fired over for the hosts when well placed during a nervous opening 20 minutes but Albion immediately threatened twice in three minutes through Zola.
The striker saw a deflected shot on the turn saved by Coburn before a 23rd-minute header from Palmer's free-kick on the right rattled the bar.
Jacques Maghoma shot wide from outside the area shortly afterwards, while Altrincham's Nicky Clee tested Mark Oxley with a speculative effort from 25 yards out just before the half hour.
The visitors' best player was Zola, who caused Altrincham problems both on the ground and in the air.
But despite lively winger Duncan Watmore firing over for the hosts yet again, Zola's 20th minute header remained the best chance of a cagey first half.
Zola was in action early in the second half, too.
After a couple of left-wing crosses from Maghoma, he saw both a header and a difficult volley loop high over the bar under pressure from the Altrincham defence.
Eighteen-year-old Watmore, son of former FA chief executive Ian, was also becoming an increasing influence on the game for the hosts as he regularly enjoyed success down both wings.
Reeves forced Oxley into action in the 57th minute with a low shot from the edge of the area as Altrincham looked for their first-ever win in 12 attempts between the two sides.
That, however, looked a distant hope thanks to Palmer's effort after Simon Richman fouled Maghoma.
It was the 29-year-old's second goal of the season and second in the Cup after his second round Capital Cup opener in the win against Leicester City in August.
And within 10 minutes, the game was over after good work down the left from Cleveland Taylor – despite offside suspicions – left Zola with a the tap-in his efforts deserved.
Albion return to the Pirelli Stadium tomorrow afternoon when they face Dagenham and Redbridge as they go in search of their fifth home win this season. Victory would strengthen their position in the play-offs.
ALTRINCHAM: Coburn, Leather, Havern, Hall (c), Doughty, Watmore (Brooke, 79), Richman, Moult, Clee (Lacey, 79), Lawrie, Reeves. Other subs: Reid, Grimshaw, Mitchley.
BURTON ALBION: Oxley, O'Connor, Diamond (c), Palmer, McCrory, Holness, Bell, Weir (McGrath, 84), Maghoma, Zola (Kee, 84), Taylor. Other subs: Lyness, Stanton, Dyer, Richards, Paterson.
REFEREE: C Boyeson (East Yorkshire).
ATTENDANCE: 2,428 ( 245 away fans).