TASTY BREW PUTS WHITES IN MIRE...
NIGEL CLOUGH said in January that Championship survival would be a miracle for Burton Albion, and the Brewers boss admits that his side are “tantalisingly” close to achieving it after victory over Leeds.
Two goals in two minutes from January signing Marvin Sordell and Burnley loanee Michael Kightly helped the Brewers to their second win on the bounce, despite Kyle Bartley’s swift reply handing the promotion chasing visitors a lifeline.
The Brewers now need a point from their final two games to guarantee Championship survival, but Clough is taking nothing for granted.
“We won’t be celebrating or anything until we get that one point at Barnsley next week,” Clough stressed. “The mood in the dressing room is euphoric but also tinged with an element of disappointment, because we thought that if we won today, we might be mathematically safe.
“It’s tantalisingly close to be just one point away from assuring safety.”
There had been little to choose between the sides in a first half bereft of quality, with the only incident of note coming on ten minutes when Chris Wood’s headed goal was disallowed after a foul on Burton keeper Stephen Bywater.
And there was little improvement after the restart, with both teams struggling to create clear chances.
But the game began to open up with the latter stages approaching, with Pontus Jansson rising high to meet a near-post corner for Leeds 16 minutes from time only to see his effort go just wide.
And the contest exploded into life seconds later when Sordell spun just outside the box and fired a low effort past Robert Green into the bottom right-hand corner.
Sordell was instrumental as Burton doubled their lead shortly after, teeing up substitute Kightly as the on-loan Burnley winger burst into the box to score his fourth goal in ten outings for the Brewers.
Leeds gave themselves hope by responding quickly, with Kyle Bartley poking the ball home after Chris Wood’s downward header back across goal.
But the Brewers showed resolve to secure back-to-back wins for the first time in the Championship. “I was very pleased with our two goals,” Clough enthused. “The first is a lovely strike from Marvin Sordell. Once he gets turned he hits it with such power and accuracy, and it’s difficult for the goalkeeper.
“And Michael gives us quality Premier League quality that we haven’t generally got throughout the squad.”
Defeat for Leeds leaves them reliant upon a slip-up from Fulham, whom they trail by three points in the battle for the final play-off spot, and the result was a bitter pill for boss Garry Monk to swallow.
“It’s an extremely unfair result on my players,” he said.
“We were the most dangerous team, and the goal came right against the run of play. We just lost that composure for those few minutes, and I think it was the shock of them actually scoring the goal when we had been the ones on the front foot, and they managed to get a second in that short period.”
“Possibly (nerves have crept in). A lot of this group have never been in this situation before, but whatever happens, it’s a learning process for them, and the whole group will gain from this experience.”
STAYING UP: Burton Albion’s Marvin Sordell celebrates scoring the opener Inset: Leeds United defender Kyle Bartley pulls one goal back