Tac­ti­cal er­ror is costly at Hor­nets

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND - By Dan Lud­lam

ASPIRITED sec­ond-half dis­play wasn’t enough to save Cham­pi­onship side Bur­ton Albion from FA Cup elim­i­na­tion, go­ing down to Wat­ford at Vicarage Road, and Nigel Clough ad­mit­ted his tac­ti­cal blun­der had cost them early on.

The Premier League side took a de­served lead mid­way through the first half through Chris­tian Kabasele but had to wait un­til 13 min­utes from time to seal vic­tory thanks to Jerome Sin­clair.

Clough’s side im­proved dra­mat­i­cally in the sec­ond pe­riod af­ter be­ing out­played for large parts dur­ing the open­ing half.

It’s that sort of de­sire that is go­ing to give Bur­ton a chance of avoid­ing an im­me­di­ate re­turn to League One, hav­ing lost five of their last six league fix­tures.

How­ever Clough con­ceded that he got his side’s for­ma­tion wrong at the start and once he had re­verted to a back four, the Brew­ers looked a lot more com­pet­i­tive.

“The start of the sec­ond half was the key pe­riod,” Clough said. “We started off with the wrong for­ma­tion which is my fault but we changed it af­ter 2025 min­utes. Un­for­tu­nately we were 1-0 down. STAR MAN BRAN­DON MA­SON Wat­ford

“Once we got to a back four we were much more com­pet­i­tive.

“There were too many spa­ces with the back three early on for us.

“But I thought for an hour af­ter that we played very well.”

It was al­ways go­ing to be an up­hill task once Bran­don Ma­son had bro­ken clear down the left-hand side and squared for an un­marked Kabasele to tap home.

You may have ex­pected Bur­ton to suc­cumb to the hosts’ su­pe­ri­or­ity from then on but the vis­i­tors fought their way back and could have lev­elled early into the sec­ond half.

Tom Flana­gan ven­tured for­ward from full-back be­fore meet­ing a Luke Var­ney ball at the front post, but he could only nod nar­rowly wide.

Former MK Dons de­fender Flana­gan was pro­vid­ing a use­ful out­let for Bur­ton, this time his low cross nar­rowly evaded the clutches of winger Mar­cus Har­ness.

Those near misses proved de­ci­sive in the end though once Sin­clair had dou­bled Wat­ford’s lead on 77 min­utes with his first goal for the Hor­nets.

Af­forded too much time on the edge of the area, the former Liver­pool young­ster fired un­err­ingly be­yond Jon McLaugh­lin to put the tie out of reach.

It was tough on a re­silient Bur­ton, but Clough be­lieved the missed chances summed up their mis­for­tunes so far this sea­son.

“There were two good chances that we had,” he added.

“That’s been the story of our sea­son in the Cham­pi­onship where we’ve cre­ated good things but haven’t quite man­aged to fin­ish them off.

“Un­for­tu­nately we feel there’s a bla­tant foul in the lead up to the sec­ond goal on Lu­cas

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