CLOUGH BREWING UP SURVIVAL TILT Dyer hits scorcher to earn a point
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.”
NAKED AMBITION: Burton Albion’s Lloyd Dyer celebrates his goal