Burton 3-1 Derby: Albion still fighting after win over play-off hopefuls
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 14/04/18 9:02pm
Burton kept their slim Championship survival hopes alive with a 3-1 victory over play-off chasing Derby at the Pirelli Stadium.
Liam Boyce, Luke Murphy and Lucas Akins were all on target as Albion claimed their first win on home soil in 18 games, moving to within five points of safety with three matches remaining.
David Nugent had equalised in the 29th minute for Derby, who also missed a late penalty when former County goalkeeper Stephen Bywater denied top-scorer Matej Vydra.
The defeat damaged the Rams' play-off bid, leaving them one point outside the top six.
A tame start to the A38 derby saw Boyce's shot on the turn provide the only meaningful attempt on goal.
Boyce's first goal at the Pirelli after his record-breaking transfer last summer from Ross County, having spent a large portion of the season on the injury list, was a tap-in from almost on the line in the 24th minute.
Albion's lead lasted just five minutes as Nugent rose highest at the back post from Tom Lawrence's curling cross to bag his first goal of 2018.
The pace of the game picked up from there and Joe Sbarra almost restored Burton's advantage with a rasping shot that had Scott Carson diving full length to his right to push away his effort.
Burton's persistence was rewarded a minute before the break when Murphy robbed Chris Baird of possession on the right and burst into the box, cutting inside and curling a precise shot around Carson.
Derby came out strongly at the start of the second half but could not find a way through a resilient Burton rearguard.
Instead it was Albion who capitalised on more ponderous Derby defending to extend their lead in the 68th minute. Boyce nicked the ball off the toe of Tom Huddlestone before both Murphy and Hope Akpan saw efforts blocked, leaving Akins to finish from close range.
Derby sent on Cameron Jerome but it was Nugent who was culpable of a bad miss when blasting over the crossbar from Vydra's pull-back.
Jerome earned his side a last-ditch penalty that could have got Burton nerves jangling, the striker bundled over in the box by Jake Buxton, but Bywater saved Vydra's poor spot-kick with his foot.
Nigel Clough: "I don't think we played as well as we have in a lot of home games recently.
"We got a couple of breaks, we didn't make mistakes and we managed to get the three points but, in terms of performances, some of them in the last six or eight weeks have been better than that.
"All credit to the players, they have kept going and when you haven't won at home for 17 games, six months, to go out and keep going the way they have done speaks volumes for their honesty."
Gary Rowett: "You know what the game is going to be like, regardless of whether Burton felt they weren't playing for much apart from local pride, but it was enough for them.
"They showed a brilliant appetite. If I say it was embarrassing I am taking the credit away from Burton because they have outworked us with a lot more fight and desire to get the result.
"Today was very similar to the Sunderland game. We have lost 50-50 challenges. We have given away three goals through mistakes. That's seven goals conceded against Sunderland and Burton, who are both bottom of the league respectively."