Burton Albion clung onto all three points against a dangerous looking Fulham side in their fourth game at the Pirelli this term.
The brewers lined up in a 3-5-2, with Stephan Bywater regaining his place in goal. Captain Jake Buxton, Kyle McFadzean and Ben Turner made up the back three, with Stephan Warnock and John Brayford at wing back. The later was returning to the Pirelli stadium for the first time this season, after signing on transfer deadline day. There was also an untouched midfield from Burton’s 0-0 at Carrow Road, as Jamie Allen, Luke Murphy, and Lucas Akins all started for the second game running. In fact, the only Burton change from their draw against Norwich was Sean Scannell coming in for Joe Mason, and the Huddersfield loanee was partnered by Marvin Sordell up top.
Fulham got the game underway, and immediately applied pressure on the brewers defence, stringing together a number of passes. When Burton won possession, they moved forward quickly, and Jamie Allen cut inside and shot, but it was straight at David Button. Twelve minutes in, Scannell latched onto a long ball, he cut it back to Sordell. The former Coventry striker’s touch was poor, but after a stroke of luck, the ball found Stephen Warnock, who rolled the ball into the empty net. It was the defender’s first goal in over three years.
Fulham, however, continued attacking, and Johansen got in behind the Burton back line. He dragged it back to Norwood, who somehow scooped over from inside the six-yard box. Norwood would make up for his error fifteen minutes later, as he drilled the ball into the bottom left corner from distance. After the goal, though, the brewers kicked into gear. Lucas Akins cut inside, but his shot was saved. Soon after, Jamie Allen rattled the post after a great piledriving strike from about thirty yards out. With five minutes of the first half remaining John Brayford forced another good save out of Button, after firing goalward with his weak foot. The referee blew for half time, and neither side could get ahead coming into the break.
Burton began the first half as they ended the second. An Allen corner was flicked on by McFadzean at the near post, but no one could tap into the empty net and it was cleared. Scannell got in behind and fired at the legs on Button. From the resulting corner, McFadzean went down and the ref blew for a penalty, their first this season. Lucas Akins stepped up. The keeper got a hand on it, but he couldn’t keep it out. Fulham were less than please with the goal, and began attacking relentlessly again.
Sheyi Ojo smashed against the bar seventy minutes in, and then Johansen fired a cut back against the scoreboard. With ten minutes left, Lund found Allen, but his shot sailed high and wide. Graham fired towards Bywater’s goal after a Fulham free kick, but Turner was quick across to block it. With one of the four added minutes left, Johansen had a free kick on the left. Luckily for the brewers, he put too much power on the cross, and it went out for a goal kick.
There was a definite sigh of relief for Nigel Clough as the full-time whistle blew. With the win, the brewers bumped themselves above Sunderland, and into 19th in the table.
Jack’s man of the match: Marvin Sordell