I’ll be setting off in about an hour’s time to catch the train up to Burton and I’m looking forward to it as the match there was one of the few last season that brought me much joy. I’m hoping the pressure will be off us away from the SoL and that we can regain the composure we showed before the last two games. I’m happy with the way our season’s gone so far because with a highly-revamped squad we’ve arrested our plunge and remain unbeaten and in a play-off position. Burton have done much worse than us, losing four games so far and languishing in the nether regions of the table. As far as I can see, Darren Bent won’t be with them today and I can certainly do without him scoring against us again. I haven’t heard any team news yet but I’m feeling confident that we’ll get a win and my match prediction is 2-1.
I got into Burton at 1.40 and there was plenty of time for a leisurely stroll to the Pirelli Stadium stopping off for a pleasant pint of Burton Bridge Brewery stout for £3.20 in the Alfred Ale House. I hardly saw any fans at all till I got right near the ground. There was time for another beverage and a chat with the ALS supremo before taking my seat ten minutes before kick off. I heard that we were starting with Maja, Wyke and Sinclair as well as Oviedo and this boosted my good feelings about how the afternoon’s events would go. So far so good but then things went badly wrong when the game actually started.
From the off Burton were first to loose balls all over the pitch and looked much more incisive while our passes often went astray. We did have a great chance on fifteen minutes when after good work by Oviedo down the left a pass came low into their box but Maja steered his shot wide of the right post – a bad miss. Baldwin had looked his usual impressive self but on twenty minutes we were one down when a low cross from their right was allowed to come across our box and Allen was there to rifle it home. Going one down has come to be the norm of late but apart from a good long-distance effort from Oviedo we had little to offer and were getting overrun in midfield. We went further behind in the thirty-sixth minute when a free-kick from the right was nodded home by McFadzean. Not long afterwards things got even worse when their goalie Evtimov ran out of his box and collided with the onrushing Wyke putting the latter on the deck for several minutes before he was finally stretchered off. As a result of this collision, which in replays looked on the malevolent side apparently, the ball bounced ever so slowly towards their gaping net but was stopped close to the line. Anyway, Maguire came on for Wyke and the only thing of note before the break was another yellow card for Catts.
The mood was grim in the gents toilet at the break and the chances of us getting two goals back the way we’d been playing seemed remote indeed. Things got better for a while in the second period after we’d brought McGeady on for the ineffective Sinclair and eight minutes in, we pulled a great goal back when Maguire lammed one in from the edge of the box. We put some pressure on for a while afterwards and won several corners but it didn’t last. Our poor passing, failure to win much in the air, especially Maja, and lack of bite made it increasingly likely that our first defeat was on its way. Burton were by no means shutting up shop and McLaughlin had to produce a couple of good saves to prevent an even worse result. There were five minutes of stoppage-time but you just felt it wasn’t going to be out day...and it wasn’t.