Efficient but hardly exciting as Burton Albion get back on track in the league
BILLY Kee's early goal was enough as Burton Albion climbed back into League Two's top 10 at home to Accrington Stanley.
The Brewers were efficient rather than exciting, allowing Accrington plenty of possession, but they always created better chances than their visitors and manager Gary Rowett will justifiably point to the bigger picture: after two League defeats without scoring, this was an important three points.
For a short while at the start of the game, Burton threatened something better to watch but, in the end, they scored from what remained the best move of the match in the 10th minute.
Jacques Maghoma went on a good run down the left and, just as he seemed to be forced off the ball in the corner, he found enough space to chip a short cross to Billy Kee.
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He flicked the ball on for Calvin Zola, who returned it cleverly, leaving Kee perfectly placed to slide a shot from 10 yards beyond keeper Paul Rachubka.
Briefly, the Brewers looked as if they might capitalise on the advantage.
Accrington were all over the place when, after another sweeping move, Chris Palmer's cross from the right went over Rachubka and hit the far post.
But, as the half wore on, Burton began to look as if they were sitting on an away lead as Accrington's possession increased.
There was precious little support from midfield when the ball was hit towards Kee and Zola and yet, oddly, the Brewers contrived to create the better chances.
A Palmer free kick, flicked on by Kee, was deflected fortuitously into Rachubka's arms by a defender as Diamond threatened.
Kee shot narrowly wide from the left after another sparkling run by Maghoma and Diamond, nipping in to reach a Palmer free kick, headed narrowly wide.
But the centre-half was having a busier afternoon at the other end as Accrington kept pressing.
Unfortunate as Aaron Webster was to have been dropped after his efforts last week at Crewe, Diamond justified his recall following suspension by being utterly assured in all he did and Accrington's only shot of the half was a weakly-rolled effort from Padraig Amond, who had slipped ahead of Holness.
Accrington began the second half on the front foot, too, and, after Robbie Weir was booked for a late challenge on Luke Joyce, a long clearance by Rachubka almost embarrassed Lyness, who had to tip the ball over when it bounced towards the top corner.
After 58 minutes, Lyness did well to save down at his left-hand post when a 25-yard drive from Joyce bounced just in front of him.
Referee Phil Gibbs, whose fussiness had not endeared him to Burton, stopped the game quickly and wisely when Lee Bell smashed a clearance into Weir's face, although the Burton midfielder recovered quickly.
Rowett used the break in play to replace Palmer, who had had a poor day, with Cleveland Taylor.
There was almost a bizarre goal from the uncontested drop ball to restart, as Kee returned the ball to Accrington so firmly that Rachubka had to scramble to his left to claw it away from the net.
Taylor soon had the chance to impress. Kee challenged for a low cross from Anthony O'Connor, the ball fell loose and Taylor blazed it over from 12 yards.
Finally, the Brewers were beginning to get forward more and Kee had two shots deflected wide before Zola headed a Taylor cross straight at Rachubka.
Romy Boco, briefly with the Brewers on loan a couple of years ago, had had a busy game for Accrington and hit two late shots off target but, largely, the visitors had been kept at arm's length.
The game closed with substitute Will Hatfield booked for a late tackle on Weir as the Burton midfielder shot from the edge of the box, which caused him to limp off, before Maghoma chipped the free kick wide.
It had not been pretty but Accrington have been a hard nut to crack over many years and this was a first win in the last four against them at the Pirelli Stadium.