Burton Albion’s struggle at home so far this season continued, as Sheffield United easily strolled towards all three points at the Pirelli stadium.
The brewers made just two changes from their surprise 1-0 win at Millwall two weeks ago, with Tom Flanagan and Sean Scannell dropping to the bench. They were replaced by Stephen Warnock and Jamie Allen. Nigel clough also changed up the formation, this time choosing a narrow 4-1-3-2, with Lloyd Dyer shifting up from alongside Marvin Sordell. The blades fielded a strong 11. Former brewer Mark Duffy started at CAM, with danger man Billy Sharp ahead of him up front. Controversial keeper Jamal Blackman also returned into the United net after recovering from a back injury.
The brewers would’ve been hoping for an easy start, but it was anything but that, with Sheffield closing down every loose ball and Burton struggling to play their way out of danger. Then, 9 minutes in, a through ball to Billy Sharp ran past the United man, but only thanks to a push in the back from McFadzean. The blades skipper went down and the referee pointed to the spot with no hesitation. Billy Sharp stepped up and fired into the roof of the net, despite the brewers supporters’ best efforts to put him off. The game continued how it began, with the blades dominating possession, but struggling to carve any chances. They then had two chances in quick succession. Leon Clarke received the ball to the right of the goal and fired goalward, but it hit the side netting. Then Mark Duffy teed up an effort from distance, but it was deflected wide.
The brewers finally broke out of their half, as McFadzean lumped a ball down the pitch, it eventually found Matty Palmer, who lined up a shot from about 30 yards out, and fired a sweet strike with his left foot. The ball flew into the top right of the goal, silencing the Sheffield fans, and sending the Burton fans into joy. Their happiness would be short lived though, as less than two minutes later Billy Sharp raced through on goal, and slotted it past Stephen Bywater. Sheffield continued to assert their dominance, and they almost made it three, when Leon Clarke had time in the box to curl a shot towards goal, but it rattled the post and was gathered by Bywater. 2 minutes in to added time, Paul Courtts fired towards Bywater’s goal, before colliding with a high Sordell leg. The United man looked in some discomfort, as he was stretchered off to applause from both sets of fans. The brewers went into the break just the one goal behind, and had plenty of time to turn it around.
Similar to the first half, the second took a while to get going. Mark Duffy fired from the edge of the box 51 minutes in, but Stephen Warnock was quick across to block the shot. Then, a Matty Palmer corner was flicked on by Turner to Lund, but his effort was blocked. Burton continued to press, and Akins had a chance to draw the brewers level, but he fired over the bar. The brewers had another corner, but it couldn’t beat the first man, and United survived yet again. United then went down the other end 2 minutes later, and Leon Clarke headed home from the edge of the six-yard box. United’s seventh and his fifth in two games. David Brooks looked to add to Sheffield’s tally, but he fired inches wide after breaking through. The three minutes added time contained no more clear-cut chances, and the brewers fell to defeat yet again at home this season. Burton’s home form needs turning around, as they edge into the bottom three, whereas the blades now sit top of the championship.
Jack’s man of the match: Matty Palmer