Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Burton Albion v Lincoln City, 8 March 2011

Venue: Pirelli Stadium, Burton
Attendance: 2,051
Final score: 3-1

Burton Albion are a relative newcomer to League football, this being only their second season.  Their first season was a fairly stable one, the Brewers finishing in 13th position.  29 games into this campaign, Burton sit precariously in 22nd position, but with numerous games in hand over teams around them, having suffered even worse than Lincoln did with postponed games over the winter.  I’ll stick my neck out here and say with confidence that Burton will survive, and will be a good few places higher than they are now come the end of the season.

Before turning to tonight’s game though, have a look at their crest at the top of this post.  What on earth is that all about?  Why does it show some fat man frogmarching?  Why would you let kids design the crest of a professional football club?  Urgent PR makeover needed I feel.

Anyway, City fans were hoping for better then the turgid drivel that was Saturday’s bore draw against Accrington, but as it turned out they would have taken the same again over the eventual result.

Burton came out of the traps fighting, winning an early corner and forcing Julian Kelly to make a goal-line clearance.  Just as Barnet had done in City’s last away match, the good start turned into an early lead.  With just 10 minutes on the clock, a mix up between Hone and Carson allowed Winnall to pinch the ball and roll it into an unguarded net.  I feel like I’ve written about far too many defensive errors recently, particularly involving Carson, and it feels as if City are slipping back into giving away the soft goals that proved so costly earlier in the season.

The game continued in a scrappy fashion, but with the Brewers undeniably having the upper hand.  In the 37th minute, a lob by Winnall looked to be going in, before Watts managed to head the ball back onto his own crossbar and away to safety.

It was clear that City needed to get hold of the ball to have any chance of getting back into the game, but once again the Imps wafer-thin midfield was struggling to either win or retain the ball.  It also seems that any side with a pacy right winger will do well against City, as Hunt has been turned inside out in more than one game recently.

City looked to quickly get back into the game after the break, and a Grimes dummy for O’Keefe seemed to present a great chance, but the outstretched leg of James denied the City midfielder the chance to test the goalkeeper.

The ball went down the other end, and once again City were the architects of their own downfall.  Kelly and Carayol managed to cheaply give the ball away to McGrath, who centred to give Webster a simple sidefoot finish from 6 yards.

The second goal gave Burton the confidence to go on the attack again, with City barely able to create any play in front of Burton’s goal.  City’s deficiencies are illustrated by the fact that Facey’s shot straight at the keeper on 66 minutes was the side’s first on target.

On 75 minutes, any doubts that Burton would take all three points were removed when Carayol made a clumsy challenge on Maghoma and the referee had no hesitation in giving a penalty.  Winnall duly stepped up to score his second and Burton’s third.

Ironically, when the game was beyond saving, City managed to achieve some fluency in their play.  Following a quick throw in, Grimes showed his ability to score goals from nothing by curling past keeper Legzdins from 20 yards with 8 minutes to go.

This, of course, proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal, and once again defensive errors, an absent midfield and a simple lack of fight from the first whistle to the last have cost the Imps.  Although the run of results in the new year gave City a more optimistic league position, there can be no doubt that that run is now well and truly over, and Tilson and Brush must ensure that complacency doesn’t set in, and the Imps own slack attitude doesn’t allow them to be clawed back into the relegation mire.

23 Adam Legzdins
8 Andy Corbett
5 Tony James
7 Darren Moore
2 Paul Boertien
6 John Mcgrath
26 Adam Bolder
3 Aaron Webster
19 Jacques Maghoma
16 Russell Penn
29 Sam Winnall
9 Simon Whaley for Penn (79)
30 Nialle Rodney
for Webster (79)
10 Richard Walker
15 Ryan Austin
17 Jimmy Phillips
18 Greg Pearson
1 Kevin Poole

24 Trevor Carson
16 Julian Kelly
4 Adam Watts
6 Danny Hone
23 Stephen Hunt
14 Josh O'
31 Ali Fuseini
7 Mustapha Carayol
9 Gavin Mc
18 Delroy Facey
29 Ashley Grimes
27 Ben Hutchinson for Fuseini (62)
19 Jamie Clapham
for McCallum (62)
39 Scott Spencer
for Facey (76)
2 Paul Green
25 Cian Hughton
40 Patrick Kanyuka
20 Paul Musselwhite

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