Burton Albion vs Aston Villa. Sky Bet Championship.
Saturday 8 April 2017 18:34, UK
A hard-earned point at home against Aston Villa helped Burton Albion inch a point closer to Championship survival as Lloyd Dyer netted his sixth goal of the season.
Steve Bruce's side arrived at the Pirelli Stadium having only conceded once in their last nine outings, a 1-0 defeat at Huddersfield, but any faint hoped they had of making the end of season play-offs disappeared with their failure to take three points from their short trip to Staffordshire.
Albion, meanwhile moved five points clear of Blackburn Rovers with the draw, with just five games to play of their maiden season in the second tier having once again taken points off a Midlands rival.
Jonathan Kodjia's 19th goal of the campaign gave the in form Villans a third-minute lead. The Ivory Coast international, a winner against the Brewers with former club Bristol City back in August, swooped on a poor pass from Burton defender Ben Turner to race in unchallenged and slot home past 'keeper Jon McLaughlin.
Albion though hit back in the second half and were level on 61 minutes thanks to Dyer's sixth strike opportunist strike. The 34-year-old winger, a former Villa youngster, latched onto Kyle McFadzean's angled pass to send a searing drive beyond Sam Johnstone.
Burton, desperate for points in their bid to avoid relegation, got off to a fast start but were stopped in their tracks by Kodjia's early strike but they quickly rediscovered their attacking purpose with Dyer and Marvin Sordell causing problems from wide areas.
Luke Murphy almost got lucky with a cross that threatened to deceive Johnstone and Michael Kightly was only denied by the post as he tried to convert more good work from Dyer.
Kodjia's departure with injury after 35 minutes gave Albion some respite, although the visitors were able to swap one multi-million pound striker for another as Scott Hogan took his place, the former Brentford man still looking to settle properly since his January move.
Sordell glanced a header just off target early in the second half before Dyer deservedly equalised and it was Burton who continued to look purposeful.
Substitute Lucas Akins fired just wide on the turn with just under 10 minutes remaining and Villa went close through Jordan Amavi, the Frenchman unable to steer a teasing cross from Alan Hutton on target from six yards out.
Albion were thankful to Turner at the end with the big defender making two crucial clearances to deny Villa a late winner as Burton hung on for a vital point at the end of a momentous week which has yielded four points for Nigel Clough's side.
Burton boss Nigel Clough:
"I think we deserved a point after the start we got off to. It was less than ideal to give a team like Villa a goal start after a couple of minutes, especially with them being so resilient and resolute in defence of late.
"We knew it was going to take something to break them down and we had to take the game to them which I thought we did for the majority of the game. It's not just today's result. It's the week that we have had. Huddersfield away, Newcastle away and Villa at home - to get four points is a brilliant return for us in our position."
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce:
"We have to admit that we were poor today. We lacked sharpness and some of them were running on empty to be honest. In my experience that happens when you play two or three games quickly after an international break.
"It was frustrating but Burton are good at what they do. It's never easy to come here and we knew that but after getting off to a good start we have to take care of the ball better than we did."