Kee's stunning strike clinches impressive win against form side for Burton
MANAGER Gary Rowett called it the result of the season and, taking all circumstances into account, Burton Albion's thrilling 3-2 win over Dagenham & Redbridge was probably just that.
A glance at the League Two table shows a side in the play-off places edging a win at home against a bottom-half team but there was so much more to this game than such obvious facts.
Dagenham came into the game as no ordinary bottom-half team.
After a disastrous start to the season, they had climbed away from the bottom with a run of one defeat in 11 and arrived at the Pirelli Stadium on the back of an away win at Oxford United followed by a 5-0 thumping of Rotherham United.
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Burton came into it less than 48 hours after an FA Cup first round replay win at Altrincham, having lost on-loan goalkeeper Mark Oxley to a broken hand sustained in that game.
They also lost striker Calvin Zola after 20 minutes, the tall Congolese barely knowing where he was as he failed to overcome a clash of heads with Abu Ogogo in the sixth minute.
He had seemed to recover initially and was among three Burton players who should have scored before he eventually went off.
Dagenham started with confidence and Dean Lyness, on his full League debut in the Burton goal, made a decisive start, claiming a cross 15 yards from his line within the first minute and reacting quickly to a dangerous through ball from Medy Elito after five minutes.
Twelve minutes in, a poor headed back pass by Luke Wilkinson, the first of several by Dagenham, let Billy Kee in but his header, over keeper Chris Lewington, stayed out off the inside of the post.
Within a minute, Kee, looking sharp, crossed from the left and Lewington first blocked Zola's header at point-blank range, then got down to his right to keep out Robbie Weir's follow-up. They were both good saves but Lewington should have been given no chance by Weir especially.
Lewington did well again after 21 minutes, saving down at his right-hand post as Chris Palmer whipped in a wicked free kick from the left wing.
Lyness was comfortably behind a 27th-minute shot from the lively Elito but, within a minute, conceded a penalty.
A through ball was on its way beyond both he and striker Jake Reed for a goal kick when Lyness plunged at the Dagenham man's feet and tripped him.
Referee Trevor Kettle decided a yellow card was sufficient and Lyness then did well to push Michael Spillane's penalty against his left-hand post but could do nothing to stop Dwight Gayle tapping in the rebound.
Mr Kettle was less interested when Wilkinson barged Matt Paterson to the ground after 42 minutes, an inconsistency which rankled with Rowett later, and Burton arrived at the break feeling aggrieved to be behind.
They soon put it right, however, with two goals in two minutes and the build-up, at least, to the first was terrific.
Damien McCrory, with a point to prove against the club who let him go in the summer, kept the ball in on the left first with a backheel, then a poked pass for Jacques Maghoma, who then backheeled it neatly into the left-back's path again and he ran on to hit a shot which deflected up and over Lewington.
If that was lucky, McCrory's enterprise had certainly earned it.
Paterson's determination earned the second, as Lyness's goal kick was headed on by Lee Bell and Wilkinson's weak header back still looked likely to reach Lewington before Paterson stole in to poke the ball past him.
Dagenham hit back with a spell of pressure as their exertions began to tell on Burton and they equalised after 78 minutes.
Wilkinson was still forward after a couple of corners to head down a long ball into the box and substitute Sam Williams met it with a fine shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.
That was good but, seconds later, Kee topped it with a stunning goal. Bell launched the ball forward and the striker, right back to his best in this game, took the ball on his chest, nudged it sideways and launched a dipping volley over Lewington into the top corner.
Just as satisfying for the manager was the manner in which the Brewers saw out the game from there, with prolonged spells of keep-ball deep in Dagenham's half.
There was no real threat of another equaliser from the visitors through five minutes of stoppage time and this was a job thoroughly well done by Burton.
They are up to sixth and, with the bottom two teams coming up next, an opportunity is presenting itself.