Spectacular decider caps fightback as Burton climb up to sixth
BURTON Albion's first win of 2013 came courtesy of a spectacular late goal from substitute Matt Paterson after Gary Rowett's resilient Brewers battled back from a half-time deficit.
The result was tough on visitors Torquay United, who contributed plenty to a hard-fought, intriguing game but that is not to say Burton did not deserve the points.
Ultimately, after the two sides had slugged it out, the home side scored one more – and what a goal it was.
Paterson, who looked to be developing a good partnership with Calvin Zola early in the season, has found himself on the sidelines in recent weeks but he made the most of his 15 minutes on the pitch, replacing Zola.
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There were six minutes left when he picked the ball up on the left, checked inside and planted a fabulous curling shot from 22 yards out of Michael Poke's reach, high to the goalkeeper's left.
It was even better than his winner at Rochdale previously and the former Southampton striker does not seem to deal in scoring simple goals.
Torquay, playing a fluid 4-2-3-1 which often looked more like 4-2-4, approached the game as positively as any away side at the Pirelli Stadium this season and looked at least as good as most of the top-half sides Burton have played – there really is not much to choose between most of the teams in League Two.
They threatened early, when Aaron Downes headed down Kevin Nicholson's corner and Rene Howe got a touch which sent the ball straight into Dean Lyness's arms.
For Burton, on-loan winger Adam Drury showed some good early touches, sending a fierce volley over from 16 yards and delivering a dangerous low cross which Poke did well to gather.
Ryan Jarvis, returning for Torquay after a punctured lung, looked dangerous, firing a Nathan Craig pass into the side-netting and touching another chance narrowly wide after Howe headed down a Nicholson free kick.
Nathan Stanton needed a fine challenge to stop Jarvis after 21 minutes but Burton were close after 24 minutes when Jacques Maghoma's clever chip from the edge of the box was tipped over at full stretch by Poke.
Howe and Zander Diamond were having an uncompromising tussle but Howe almost profited while Diamond was briefly off the field dealing with what appeared to be a contact lens problem.
The big striker got the better of Anthony O'Connor but not Lyness, who blocked a close range shot with his legs before Drury completed the clearance.
Drury's floated cross from the right after 34 minutes gave Poke another problem but Torquay went ahead two minutes before half-time.
Craig's corner from the right looked to be over-hit but Downes did exceptionally well to head it back and Jarvis volleyed the ball in with his knee.
Burton were almost two down straight after the break when Craig's free kick from 45 yards out was initially misjudged by Lyness, who was off his line, before he recovered to tip it over.
But it was the Brewers who were starting to threaten more and they equalised after 59 minutes.
Billy Kee was not having the best of games against his former club but he won an important challenge with Damon Lathrope 25 yards out to force the ball down the inside right channel.
There was a feeling Kee had been tripped as he won the ball but it did not matter, as Zola strode through to finish with an emphatic shot across Poke – the tall striker's 12th goal of the season.
Howe was booked for a late challenge on Diamond after 66 minutes but he got the better of the Burton captain legitimately three minutes later and should have given Torquay the lead again.
Charging through the middle, he hit a strong shot which Lyness blocked with his legs, then saw the keeper recover to touch his follow-up effort away for a corner.
Torquay were still playing some nice football and it took a terrific challenge from Lee Bell to halt Craig on the right after he slipped past Damian McCrory.
That was typical of the way Bell and Robbie Weir get back to help out the defence and, at the other end, Weir was inches wide with a volley when Zola's shot was deflected into his path.
Neither side looked ready to settle for a point but it was Burton who claimed all three when Paterson produced his magic moment.
There was one late scare for the Brewers after that, when Craig's cross from the right reached substitute Billy Bodin, who volleyed a foot wide.
But Burton saw the rest of the game out in comfort and are up to sixth, within a point of the top three, on the back of the division's best home record.