A PROMOTION BID IS BREWING
JIMMY Floyd Hasselbaink was impressed with his side’s gutsy effort in finding a way to three points at Oldham as Burton moved into an automatic promotion spot.
Nasser El Khayati’s fifth goal of the season came against the run of play in the first half at Boundary Park.
Indeed, David Dunn’s hosts had the better of the game overall and forced Albion goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin into two terrific saves to maintain his clean sheet.
Ultimately, Hasselbaink was delighted to edge it against hardworking opponents and pick up a tenth league win, the most of any side in the division.
“It wasn’t our best game. We have played more fluently and better,” said the Burton boss.
“We couldn’t really get going but that is credit to Oldham. They are a tough side to break down and they press very well.
“We got our moment of magic – but it was more about grinding through. It was about the mental state of doing the disciplined job and of being resolute.
“It was always going to be a tight game and in spells, we could have done better with the ball.
“But I am delighted with three points. I am exceptionally happy that we have not been at our best but have still found a way to win.”
Danny Philliskirk went close with a skidding left-foot shot for Oldham, before Burton pounced on the break from their first attack.
Mark Duffy’s pass was collected by El Khayati and he controlled, turned onto his right foot and slotted low past David Cornell.
Jay Fulton’s looping header just before half-time would have equalised but for a super save as McLaughlin arched his back tip the ball onto the crossbar.
Dominic Poleon flashed a header wastefully wide for the home side and forced McLaughlin into a low tip past a post, while team-mate Mark Yeates also went close with a left-footed effort he dragged wide.
An effort from Joseph Mills was pushed out by the inspired Albion shot-stopper as Oldham pressed, while at the other end Duffy fired off-target and Tom Naylor lifted tamely into Cornell’s hands when well-placed on the counter-attack.
In the end, the hosts could not break through against a firm visitors’ backline despite their best efforts.
It is now one win since March on home soil for Oldham, but Dunn wasn’t too distressed after his second defeat as a manager.
“In term of chances, we edged it. They only had the goal that they scored and a chip towards the end and that was about it,” said Dunn, whose side lie 19th. “I am disappointed to come away with no points after dominating for most of the game.
“Sometimes in football you don’t get what you deserve – and the simple fact is that they are going home with three points whereas we are not. It took us a while to get back in it after the goal. But we will go again. There are a lot of positives to take from the game.”
STAR MAN JON McLAUGHLIN
Burton TUSSLE: Oldham’s Brian Wilson and Burton’s Timmy Thiele
TOP STOPPER: Burton’s Jon McLaughlin produces another fine save