It’s about time we beat Burton and I think we’ll do that this afternoon. The last seven days have got to have been the best we’ve had for several years what with the takeover finally being confirmed, two exciting wins and a Wembley final being booked so the squad will be on a high. With all the matches coming thick and fast we’ll be doing a lot of rotating but when I look at our bench these days, my heart doesn’t sink and I relish the prospect of Diamond, Jones, Maguire or whoever coming on. Being able to make as many as five subs too is a great bonus. By the way, where is Winchester? I haven’t heard a thing about him for weeks. The Burton back four will be doing some serious marking of Wyke but if McGeady can enjoy a free role again, I feel confident we’ll sneak one or two in. Burton are propping up the table but have had a recent resurgence with three wins out of the last four league matches. Doncaster are playing Hull so something must give there. I’ll be watching the game in Sunderland with my fellow bubblers once more and my match prediction is a 2-1 win.
When I got the team-news at 2.00, Wright was out, as had been half-expected, while Sanderson and Vokins were in at the back. O’Brien was also starting while Winchester was on the bench.
The first chance of the game came in the fourth minute and it was set up, of course, by McGeady who passed across the box to Gooch who was in plenty of space. He put in a powerful shot on target but Garratt in goal blocked it. We didn’t have to wait long to take the lead as very soon Earl conceded a free-kick near the right angle of their box for which he was yellow-carded and McGeady rolled the free-kick across to Leadbitter who side-footed it into the bottom-left corner. A few minutes later we allowed Burton too much space in our box from their first corner but Power raced out to block a shot on target. Soon afterwards Sanderson had to turn a low Brayford header over the bar and then Burton won a third corner so we were under pressure. We fought back well and after Gooch made a great run down the right he crossed for McGeady to get a shot on target that was blocked. Next thing O’Brien turned well near the left angle of their box and put in a curling shot that went narrowly wide. McGeady was yellow-carded for upending Clare. The pitch around their penalty area was looking very slippy and I could see this being to our advantage. Elsewhere Hull went one-up against Doncaster – a draw would probably suit us best there. Very soon Hull were 2-0 up. O’Nien was booked and he’s really starting to make a habit of it. On the half-hour I thought McGeady had scored but it’d been deflected for a corner. The corner was flapped at by Garratt and it fell to Gooch near the left angle of their box. He hit it with his left foot and it zipped into the net off the bar to put us two-up and I felt sure there’d be more goals to come. Wyke was injured when he took a knock to his head and while he was being treated the camera focused on the top of LJ’s head. Was it my imagination or was he looking considerably greyer since his arrival? Wyke was able to continue thankfully and elsewhere – are you sitting down? - Will Grigg scored. Gooch became our third player to be booked and there’d been plenty of rough and tumble. Burge made a good save from a Smith shot with five minutes to go and he’d looked composed so far. There were four minutes of stoppage-time but not much of significance happened and it remained 0-2 at the break. Among other relevant games Hull were beating Donny 3-1 and Accrington were drawing 0-0.
In the bubble we hoped the team wouldn’t start the second period at half canter as we’ve been guilty of doing. After three minutes Vokins put in a good cross but Wyke was wrong-footed and couldn’t take advantage of it. Next thing Burge tipped a Smith shot onto the bar and we escaped. Clare was booked for a foul on Wyke as he broke down the left and my fellow bubbler suggested he should’ve got a second yellow for his haircut. Nine minutes in, there was some serious handbags as Carter and O’Brien tussled as the ball ran out for a goal-kick to Burton. Next thing Earl, who’d already been booked, steamed in and thrust O’Brien over the advertising hoarding in a Benno style. for which he was red-carded. O’Brien received a yellow but Taylor didn’t somehow. Just so he wouldn’t feel left out our Assistant Coach McAllister was booked, no doubt for some serious verbal. Back on the football front Burton managed to hit both posts in the same attempt on the hour. Burton made three changes just after that but we hadn’t made any yet and I thought it was about time especially with four players on yellows. Anyway, in the sixty-sixth minute we brought on Scowen for Leadbitter, Winchester for McGeady and Jones for Vokins. Vokins had done okay and hopefully he’d got some confidence after his last outing. We hadn’t done as well as a team in the second-half despite the numerical advantage. Elsewhere Donny had pulled a goal back against Hull and 3-3 would be very nice for us. In the seventy-third minute a Jones effort was blocked by Garratt and Wyke’s follow-up effort came off the post. A few minutes later we were 3-0 up and it was a good pass from Jones that fed Wyke on the edge of the box before he slotted it into the bottom-right corner. Wyke, having got his goal, was soon subbed by Diamond and it’s always good to see him come on. We made our last change with around five minutes to go bringing on Maguire for Power Burton manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was booked to bring the day’s total to ten. There were five minutes of stoppage-time and Jones again showed his worth with a good run and a pass to Maguire but the latter’s shot was turned away by Garratt. It ended 3-0.
This was a comfortable win in the end but it was by no means plain sailing. I think we’re on a roll now and I can see us getting a couple more wins in the next two matches. Portsmouth lost at home and Fleetwood drew so we’re back in the top six.