Burton Albion players were able to put their feet up last Saturday afternoon, secure in the knowledge that they had professionally done the business the previous Tuesday night defeating a very good Wrexham side.
The afternoon got better for them as second placed Histon threw away a two goal lead, and indeed had to rely on a last gasp equaliser to draw 3-3 at home to Eastbourne Borough. That meant that Roy McFarland’s side now hold an 18-point advantage over both Histon and Cambridge United, with Histon having three games in hand and Cambridge having played the same number as Albion.
The Brewers didn’t have things their own way against Wrexham as Dean Saunders’ side were by far and away the best team to visit the Pirelli Stadium this season. The Red Dragons stopped Albion from playing their own game and took the lead mid-way through the half courtesy of a cool finish from the much travelled Jefferson Louis.
After the interval it was a different story though as Albion were in the ascendancy. New signing Martin Butler was an early second half substitute and he quickly notched his first goal for the club in the 57th minute. Andy Corbett found Greg Pearson, who shrugged off the challenge of Neil Taylor before pulling the ball back into the path of Butler who turned and fired into the roof of the net from six yards.
It was another substitute, Lee Morris, who scored what turned out to be the winning goal in the 79th minute. Morris sprang the offside trap, running onto Tony James’ pass and coolly lobbed the advancing ‘keeper from the edge of the box to score his first league goal for Burton. Morris turned from hero to villain in the 90th minute when he was needlessly sent off for a reckless late challenge, but it couldn’t take the gloss off a great performance that extended Albion’s unbeaten home record to 17 games this season.
Afterwards the Brewers boss admitted: “Tonight sends a big message out and I think it was exactly the message we wanted to send out to the rest of the league. The players have proved something to themselves tonight. Being a goal down to a good side like Wrexham, they played some good football but we stood up to that and in the second half came out and got ourselves the goals.”
For a side which has taken 43 points out of a maximum 51 at home the good crowd of 3,262 was actually a little bit disappointing. When you consider that fact the visitors brought at the very least 1,262 then there were only a maximum of 2,000 home fans. If Albion can only get that sort of crowd when they are top of the table and undefeated at home, what crowds would that be expecting if they get to League Two and aren’t challenging for anything? League sponsors Blue Square think the title is Albion’s as they have already paid out to punters who backed the club to win the league this season, after the Wrexham victory.
This Saturday the Brewers are on the road when they travel to struggling Woking. They will be looking for their first league victory in Surrey at the sixth attempt, but will take heart from the fact that they overcome a similar piece of history to beat Forest Green for the first time away from home earlier in the season. McFarland will be hoping that defender Aaron Webster is able to return to a squad that will be missing the suspended Morris.