Burton Albion vs Oxford United – Npower League 2
Pirelli Stadium – 29/01/2012
So with the Burton Albion match being postponed to the Sunday because of the home FA Cup 4th round fixture at Derby against Stoke I had my first free Saturday for some time. I had to chuckle at the sound of it being postponed to a Sunday, as we haven’t played this fixture on a Saturday at the Pirelli for some time!
Onto the match, I was surprised to see that we had adopted a fixture which is despised by many of our fans (4-2-3-1), down to the fact that a lot of people believed it to be the reason for the drab run of results that we encountered last season. Included in the squad was our midweek loan signing from Swansea City, Lee Lucas. I was anxious to see him in action for the first time as I had heard good things about him.
Fans were also disappointed to note the fact that on-loan signing Tom Parkes from Leicester City had returned to his parent club, having made his first appearance in a Burton shirt at Valley Parade since breaking his ankle in a match against Port Vale in August 2011.
The match begun with Burton controlling the ball very well, making solid passes and challenges, but not producing in the final third. It was clear that Oxford had adopted a counter-attacking style of play, something which Burton have found hard to defend against recently.
However, Burton finally managed to get a breakthrough with newly signed Andres Gurrieri linking up with Adam Bolder to produce a fine finish to put Burton ahead.
Play continued the same, with Lucas making a good first impression, winning challenges and making good and direct passes. Burton continued to dominate, up until the 33rd minute, when long-serving Aaron Webster looked to be in pain, in what we believed to be his groin. Note that this was his first game back since recovering from a groin injury. With no accomplished left-back on the bench, our other right-back Andrew Corbett was subbed into the left-back position.
Once the substitution had been made, the game started going to Oxford, with them attacking down the right wing, and putting our out-of-position defender under immense pressure. However, Burton managed to hold onto the lead until half time.
After the break, the teams come out and Oxford looked much more deadly in the second half and looked to go on and grab a point, or all three. Burton were under immense pressure which showed just over 10 minutes into the first half. Burton were left to rue their poor defence when Oxford forward Alfie Potter tore through the defence and finished in style which sent the Oxford fans wild. Looking back on the replay of the goal however, it was easily avoidable.
Oxford continued to dominate the second half and created numerous chances which were either saved by our goalkeeper, or narrowly missed. They piled on the pressure, which was not easy for us Burton fans to take, with us only picking up 1 point out of a possible 9 in our last 3 games.
In the last 20 minutes, the game preceded to be rather dull. Adi Yussuf came off the bench for Calvin Zola and created a few chances but nothing special. Chris Palmer also came off the bench and had a free kick which was directed towards the far post but Adam Bolder headed it across goal rather than into the goal.
Overall, it was a very entertaining first 70 minutes followed by each team getting a chance at either end, but neither team being able to find the net. Jacques Maghoma was voted Man of the Match, much to the confusion of the supporters. A decent point in the end for Burton, who will be looking to try and cause an upset at Swindon Town next Saturday.