CLOUGH IS COUNTING THE WEEKS
BURTON boss Nigel Clough believes the clock is ticking for the chasing pack to catch his Albion side despite the Brewers being held to a battling draw at Crewe.
Clough’s league leaders retained their four-point cushion at the League One summit after Lucas Akins’ seventh goal of the season cancelled out Marcus Haber’s opener as the Railwaymen looked to spring a shock with relegation looming.
And although Clough admitted Crewe were good value for a point he says the pressure is now on the teams below Burton to knock them off their promotion perch.
“I thought that we pressed for a winner throughout the second-half but ultimately we lacked that little bit of quality in the final third,” he said.
“After conceding early on we got straight back into the game and deserved our equaliser so I was pleased with our response. I don’t think we could have attacked much more than we did.
“It is another game ticked off and nobody has made any ground on us.
“The players are disappointed but they have been buoyed after learning nobody else immediately below us has won and those teams have a game less to catch us now.”
Haber opened the scoring in the 14th minute for Crewe. Zoumana Bakayogo’s cross rebounded into his path after Jon McLaughlin prevented Shane Cansdell-Sherriff from putting it into his own net.
And Brad Inman almost gave the Railwaymen a second goal when his venomous strike was parried by McLaughlin just a minute later.
Akins grabbed the leveller when he was allowed to control Mark Duffy’s ball into the box before sliding it under Ben Garratt on 35 minutes.
Tom Hitchcock threatened to put Crewe back in front when he brought a high ball down neatly on the edge of the box before firing over the crossbar.
Inman saw his effort end in similar fashion when he took aim on 62 minutes, while Duffy forced Garratt into action when he saw his 18yard strike palmed clear of the bottom corner.
Crewe substitute Charlie Kirk watched his volley go a whisker wide as the game opened up.
However, a head injury to Alex defender Jon Guthrie saw him stretchered off on 85 minutes and neither side could re-gather enough momentum to snatch the points.
Crewe manager Steve Davis said: “It was a good result but in the context of what we need at the moment it wasn’t enough.
“We scored a good goal but we made a culmination of mistakes leading up to the equaliser.
“Overall we battled well and there wasn’t much between the two teams although I still thought we might get a second goal. “Getting a draw against the top team in the division does give us confidence, but we have taken the lead in 17 games so far this season and only won six so that tells its own story.”
ON THE CHARGE: Oliver Turton races forward
PARTY TIME: Marcus Haber celebrates tapping in
STAR MAN ZOUMA