Steve has a strong squadron once more
DEAN Saunders admitted that late dramas are costing him sleep as Burton’s impressive League One bandwagon bounded on.
Substitute Jerome Binnom-Williams sent the visiting hordes into raptures with a thrilling injury-time winner.
Bit it also left Chesterfield boss Saunders cursing third time unlucky.
“We conceded late against Wigan and Colchester and for it to happen again is a kick in the teeth for everyone at the club,” he said.
“We’ve lost four or five of our better players and I wouldn’t expect everything to be right straightaway, but we are good going forward and not so good going the other way.
“I am not going to sleep tonight after this. We may have to sacrifice some of our flair to get the balance right.”
Saunders, though, should take consolation from the rich part his side played in a magnificent match. Slick-moving Albion thoroughly deserved their victory and will take some toppling off the top of the table on this form.
They made light of a second-minute Jon McLaughlin flap at Dan Gardner’s corner that allowed Sam Hird to send a close-range header into the corner of the net.
Chesterfield regularly had to put bodies on the line to repel some excellent Burton passing movements.
Lucas Akins sent one glorious firsthalf chance wide after ten minutes for Burton whilst Gboly Ariyibi’s header bounced agonisingly past the post after a fine run by Gardner.
Burton’s equaliser arrived just 34 seconds after the restart when the outstanding Nasser El-Khayati smuggled the ball through to Stuart Beavon to nudge home at the near post.
Akins blazed over when well placed and then nearly snapped the bar as the visitors threatened to run riot.
Robbie Weir produced a moment of magic with a long-range shot that was narrowly too high.
Burton were producing the football, yet the home side were always dangerous from high balls – a combination that had the outcome in doubt until the frantic final moments.
Chesterfield’s Armand Gnanduillet was denied by a superb stop from McLaughlin before Binnom-Williams broke from the halfway line with pace and poise to slide his shot beyond Tommy Lee.
Delighted Burton manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink paid tribute to the fans – without joining in their ‘We are top of the league’ chant.
“The support we got was great and the players are very, very grateful – but I’m not looking at the league table,” he said.
“We were sloppy for ten minutes but, after that, the game was all about us.We deserved our victory.
“Our goalkeeper has had to make some saves, especially from free-kicks, but we stayed calm and true to our beliefs.
“We’ve played good, positive, energetic attacking football that was beautiful to the eye as well.
“I put fresh legs on and the winner came just in time which made for a thrilling finish for the fans.” CREWE’S boot camp training paid off as they survived the Alamo to somehow claim a point at high-flying Walsall.
Boss Steve Davis took his struggling Railwaymen on a midweek army-style training exercise in the Lake District by way of a team bonding mission.
And it certainly paid off as Crewe withstood a second-half siege from the Saddlers – even if Davis felt his troops might have been fatigued by their military exertions.
Davis said:“The difficult thing was we haven’t had time to do enough football because of the recovery time they needed.
“The day we had there took a lot out of them physically and there were signs of that but mentally they looked strong.
“Our keeper made some good saves when he needed to and we defended very well, particularly in the box, blocking shots and winning second balls.
“It’s a tough league but what we don’t want to be is just survivors.We want to believe we can be better than that and I think this last week has given us a lot more belief that we can.”
Crewe certainly needed a drill sergeant’s wake-up call early on as their dozing defence left Saddlers top scorer Tom Bradshaw unmarked to head Walsall in front from a corner just three minutes in.
However, Alex defender Ben Nugent showed the benefits of target practice to bring them level on 18 minutes, sweeping home a striker’s finish from the edge of the area.
From there it was a Walsall onslaught as, either side of the break, Bradshaw lashed wide from 20 yards and saw a stooping header clawed away by Crewe keeper Ben Garratt.
Both sides fluffed chances – Crewe’s Adam King from ten yards on a rare counter and Walsall’s Anthony Forde from even closer when any touch would have been enough.
Walsall should have won it but Jason Demetriou’s 25yard rocket clipped the bar, Garratt fisted away screamers from Jordan Cook and Kieron Morris, and Bradshaw skied a ten-yard volley at the death. The Saddlers stayed second despite dropping two points and boss Dean Smith was pleased with the display after his side’s own midweek ‘drill’ against Chelsea in the League Cup.
Smith said:“It felt like there was a bit of a forcefield around their goal.
“The ball wouldn’t drop for us, we’ve hit the bar, their keeper is making double saves.
“It would have been easy for it to be ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ following the Chelsea game in midweek, but the reaction was fantastic and our performance was excellent.”
I KHAYAT EL-
Albion Burton LEVEL: Stuart Beavon of Burton scores the equaliser. Inset: Nasser ElKhayati has a shot
STAR MAN BEN GARRA