Millwall 0-1 Burton: Marvin Sordell earns vital win for Albion
By Press Association
Last Updated: 04/11/17 6:08pm
Marvin Sordell's second goal of the season saw Burton Albion beat 10-man Millwall 1-0 to record their first away win in the Championship since April.
A poor contest turned when Millwall winger Jed Wallace was shown a contentious red card on the hour for a foul on Tom Flanagan on the halfway line. The mood of an angry home crowd soured on 70 minutes when Sordell netted with Burton's first shot of the match, which proved sufficient to bring Nigel Clough's side out of the bottom three.
Victory for the visitors was difficult to envisage until Sordell struck. A change of formation from a 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 did little to alter their woes going forwards for the most part.
With just one goal scored on the road in the Championship before their journey to the Den, and a dismal four shots on target registered in their previous six away matches, this proved another uninspiring display as Sordell cut a lonely figure up front, continually trying, and failing, to chase down long punts forwards.
They defended manfully though - and had the battle scars to prove it - Kyle McFadzean sporting a mask to protect a broken nose, while captain Jake Buxton had his forehead bandaged following a clash with Millwall striker Steve Morison.
Aiden O'Brien and Conor McLaughlin - called up by Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland respectively this week - saw efforts blocked for the home side as the first quarter of the contest elapsed without either goalkeeper called into action.
After 43 painful minutes, Millwall fluffed a golden opportunity to edge ahead. Morison's cross was met with a scissor kick from Wallace that went back across goal into the path of O'Brien who blazed his first-time effort over the top of an unguarded net.
The start of the second half followed the same pattern as the first, with frustration in the stands at a scrappy game eventually spilling over on the pitch when Wallace was sent off for a challenge from behind on left-back Flanagan as he carried the ball over the halfway line.
It was the fourth time this season a Millwall player had been sent off and they failed to respond in the face of adversity, falling behind with 20 minutes remaining. Matty Palmer drove a diagonal shot low into the box, that was blocked and fell to Sordell. The 26-year-old kept his composure to finish powerfully and win a precious three points.
Neil Harris: "Jed was late and it was definitely a foul. In the heat of the moment I couldn't believe it when I saw a red card, I thought he'd pulled the wrong card out. I'll have to see it again on a big screen before I decide on an appeal. It gave Burton inspiration and a positive mindset, because before that there was only one team trying to win.
"It was pivotal because it was 0-0 at home and we were on top. We never looked like conceding, so it changed the complexion of the game. I've left the players in no uncertain terms about how I feel. I'm unhappy with the result. There was no lack of effort, but we weren't brave enough with our decision making. I'm disappointed with the quality and my frustration is borne out of the fact my players let themselves down."
Nigel Clough: "We're extremely relieved. We've played much better at home and away and got no points. That's the nature of the Championship, sometimes you get your rewards when you don't necessarily deserve them. We were surprised (about the red card), but I haven't seen the tackle back so I don't know how high it was. We've got a lot more decisions that need to come our way if it's going to even out from the first 15 games.
"It was nice for Marvin to play and score. Its a much of a muchness between him and Lucas Akins, but Marvin is the one that needs the least number of chances to get a goal. He got half a chance and he scored. We said to the back four if you deal with (Steve) Morison and (Lee) Gregory you've got a chance of winning, and generally we did that. You have to match them with aerial duels to have any chance at all."