CLOUGH BREW­ING UP SUR­VIVAL TILT Dyer hits scorcher to earn a point

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Colin Hen­rys

APRECIOUS point for Bur­ton Al­bion put a se­vere dent in As­ton Villa’s slim play-off chances, and Brew­ers boss Nigel Clough was by far the hap­pier of the two man­agers af­ter their Pirelli Sta­dium draw.

For­mer Villa youth prod­uct Lloyd Dyer’s stun­ning sec­ond­half equaliser can­celled out Jonathan Kod­jia’s early opener as Al­bion moved five points clear of the drop zone.

Villa man­ager Steve Bruce ad­mit­ted his side’s charge for the play-offs – made pos­si­ble thanks to their re­cent resur­gence in form – is now as good as over.

But Clough be­lieved the point was no more than the Brew­ers de­served, though he re­mains cau­tious of rest­ing on his lau­rels just yet.

“We left Lloyd Dyer out in mid­week and told him he’d be play­ing this game, and he’s come up with an ab­so­lute scorcher,” Clough said.

“It’s no more than we de­served for our en­deav­ours. We had to take the game to them, which we did for the ma­jor­ity of the game.

“There were a lot of tired legs out there so, know­ing Black­burn were los­ing, we had to make sure we got our point.

“We’re not there yet, but it’s a bet­ter po­si­tion than it was a cou­ple of weeks ago. We can’t rest easy just yet, even with a five-point gap with five to go.”

Ben Turner gifted Villa their third-minute opener, Kod­jia pounc­ing on his un­der­hit back­pass and coolly slot­ting into the bot­tom cor­ner with the out­side of his right foot.

It was dou­bly frus­trat­ing for Clough’s side as they largely can­celled out Villa from there on, and could have been level just be­fore half-time.

Jack­son Irvine’s through ball re­leased Dyer on the left on 43 min­utes and, from his pull back, Michael Kightly’s low shot bounced clear off the post.

Bur­ton re­mained on top af­ter the break, but with lit­tle to show for the amount of at­tack­ing pos­ses­sion they were en­joy­ing.

Kightly’s bril­liant foot­work was too good for Scott Ho­gan on 59 min­utes, but Marvin Sordell could not keep his header down from the right winger’s cross.

The pres­sure fi­nally told on 61 min­utes though, as Dyer raced on to Kyle McFadzean’s ball over the top, let it drop and un­leashed a left-footed halfvol­ley into the top cor­ner.

Villa re­sponded with a dou­ble change, and Alan Hut­ton fired over on 73 min­utes be­fore Jon McLaugh­lin saved at the sec­ond at­tempt from Conor Houri­hane’s low shot six min­utes later.

Turner then made slight amends for his ear­lier er­ror in stop­page time, slid­ing in to block Le­an­dro Ba­cuna’s low ef­fort af­ter McLaugh­lin came and did not claim a long ball.

It was the clos­est Villa came to lev­el­ling, and Bruce ad­mit­ted: “It does feel like a de­feat. We have to ad­mit we were poor. We lacked sharp­ness.

“It’s al­ways my ex­pe­ri­ence in the week af­ter the in­ter­na­tion­als come­back, some of them were run­ning on empty out there to be hon­est and it was frus­trat­ing.

“We’ve got to im­prove, and if we can’t then we ain’t go­ing to be where we’ve got to be.

“That’s the next step – if we’re go­ing to move for­ward as a group we have to be bet­ter with the ball.

“We can’t be happy with 10th in the Cham­pi­onship. Our club doesn’t de­mand that.

“We have to im­prove, and that’s what my job is now.”

PIC­TURES: ProS­ports/Richard Holmes

NAKED AM­BI­TION: Bur­ton Al­bion’s Lloyd Dyer cel­e­brates his goal

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