Town 0 Burton Albion 1Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Matt Tootle, Mat Sadler, Ryan Woods, Jermaine Grandison, Mark Ellis, Abu Ogogo, Junior Brown, Liam Lawrence (c), James Collins (Tyrone Barnett, 82), Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (Liam McAlinden, 83)
Subs not used: Mark Halstead (GK), James Wesolowski, Jordan Clark, Shaun Whalley, Nat Knight-Percival
Burton Albion: Jon McLaughlin, Phil Edwards, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, John Mousinho (c), Robbie Weir, Stuart Beavon (Aurelien Joachim, 88), Nasser El-Khayati (Jerome Binnom-Williams, 78), Calum Butcher (Tom Naylor, 61), Damien McCrory, Timmy Thile, Mark Duffy
Subs not used: Remi Matthews, Lucas Akins, Anthony O’Connor, Matty Palmer
Referee: M. Haywood
Assistants: N.Hobbis & D. Bourne
Fourth Official: M. Jones
Attendance: 4,780 (442 from Burton)
Martin Wild reports from Greenhous Meadow
Shrewsbury Town are still searching for their first win of the season after going down to a third successive home defeat this afternoon. Burton Albion pulled off the classic smash-and-grab victory with a last minute winner from Mark Duffy in a game Town ought to have won. The hosts struck the woodwork twice through Junior Brown in the first-half and they deserved far better than to be hit with a sucker punch with the game edging towards stoppage time.
The only change to the squad which went down to an extra-time defeat at Premier League Crystal Palace in midweek came on the bench. There, amongst the substitutes was a very welcome name on the teamsheet: Nathaniel Knight-Percival.
Burton kicked off wearing their change colours of all white with their home kit an obvious clash with Town’s. There were plenty of empty seats but there was still a smashing atmosphere inside the Meadow with both sets of supports in fine voice.
After a really quiet opening in the first 15 minutes, Ryan Woods was unceremoniously dumped to the turf by what looked like a really poor challenge from Calum Butcher. Referee Mark Heywood – who also took charge of the Chesterfield game here 11 days ago – had no hesitation in brandishing a yellow card for the number 12. It could have been worse.
Town missed a decent chance on 20 minutes when Mark Ellis headed well over from Liam Lawrence’s probing cross, after a poor clearance from Nasser El-Khayati. The central defender had made room to attack the ball but got way too much purchase on it as he attempted to head it back from the direction in which it came.
It took an outstretched boot of goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler to bail out Ellis who seemed to misjudge the flight of Robbie Weir’s punt forward. That left the former Crewe man in a foot race with Timmy Thile who advanced to try and poke the ball with the outside of his right foot beyond the Swiss stopper – but Leutwiler read the situation well.
It wasn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination between last season’s Champions and runners-up in League Two, and it would taken a brave man to predict the outcome of the game with a third of it now complete.
JLAA wasted an opportunity for Salop when Jermaine Grandison played a great ball into the right channel, only for the Frenchman to cross straight into the arms of Jon McLaughlin with James Collins less than impressed stood unmarked in the middle.
Six minutes before the interval came Town’s best chance to date. Matt Tootle played a lovely reverse pass into Collins and with McLaughlin making the target as small as possible, the Town number 9 dragged his shot fractionally wide. It was the first of four extremely close calls for the Brewers before the half drew to a close. Brown smacked the face of the bar from outside the box and then Lawrence bent one towards the top corner with his left foot, only to see his shot sail marginally over. In the dying seconds, Brown sent another one against the post and Burton went in relieved to be level with Shrewsbury ending the half well on top, and mightily unfortunate not to have been at least a goal in front heading down the tunnel.
Half-Time: Town 0 Burton Albion 0
When play restarted Woods sent a cracking drive wide of the post with McLaughlin at full stretch, as Shrews picked up where they’d left off just before half-time. Akpa Akpro’s name was next to go on the ever growing list of near misses when his header from Lawrence’s corner dropped agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
Town were comfortably on top with the ball being worked wide time and again, but Burton were still in tact (somehow) with half an hour left.
There wasn’t quite the intensity that the closing period of the first 45 had brought, but then again the incessant blowing of Mr. Heywood’s whistle interrupted fluidity all too often. Micky Mellon was as animated as he’d ever been in the home technical area and you could sense he was less than enamoured with the display from the man in the middle. Stop-start, stop-start played right into Burton’s hands as they were able to cope much easier with the slower tempo.
And with less than ten minutes left, Micky made his first changes. The Town boss decided to throw on fresh legs up front with Tyrone Barnett and Liam McAlinden introduced for Collins and Jean-Louis who both came off to warm applause.
McAlinden soon forced McLaughlin into what might have been his first real save after 86 minutes, when Woods’ deflected strike fell kindly for him. A twist here and a turn there carved out a half chance but the Albion stopper was equal to it.
Then, in the 90th minute came that killer blow. Substitute Jerome Binnom-Williams burst into the box and when he squared the ball across the six yard line, there was Duffy unmarked to net the winner from inside the six yard box right in front of the away supporters. I’ll bet Brewers’ boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink could hardly believe his luck.
Full-Time: Town 0 Burton Albion 1