Burton Albion 4 Northwich Vics 1
VICS were outclassed in the second half and were left still searching for their first win of 2008, at the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday.
They made the worst possible start - conceding a goal after 105 seconds - and then improved only for Burton to hit promotion form after the break.
Andy Corbett provided the game’s first cross and caused an almighty scramble close to the six yard box. Aaron Webster sorted it all out with a thumping finish.
Vics were rocked and it was not until Scott Tynan saved brilliantly from Shaun Harrad’s 30 yarder within four minutes that they began to settle and match Burton’s tempo which prompted good spells of pressure.
There was an encouragment when new boy Cortez Belle’s header brought a goalline clearance from John McGrath but on the half-hour a slick Albion move between Harrad and Darryl Clarke ended with Corbett finishing emphatically from 15 yards.
Less than a minute later, however, Aaron Burns opened his Northwich account with a sharp turn and crisp bottom corner finish.
The game was more evenly balanced until the hour mark a rare Tynan error. He allowed Harrad’s underhit shot from the edge of the area to escape his grasp and the ball trickled into the net.
From then on Vics looked a beaten side, which was confirmed in 76 minutes by Webster who tapped home his second goal after Corbett had headed on Michael Simpson’s corner.
A fifth goal looked likely for Burton and the luck Vics could have done with at the start intervened on their behalf in injury time when Marc Goodfellow struck an upright.
VICS: Tynan, Bowler (Barker 62), Kerr, Welch, Belle; Mullan, Byrom, Carr (Roddy 85), Horrocks; Akins (Hanley 73), Burns.
A good first half from Vics that was, sadly, eclipsed by an improved
second half performance by Burton.
The game started disastrously as Burton went ahead in only 90 seconds
when full back Webster finally forced the ball over the line from 6
yards after a prolonged scramble in the Vics box. Tynan did well to
save from Harrad soon after and Vics gradually settled and started to
look more and more a threat. They were heartened by a shaky start
from Burton keeper Poole whose handling in easy situations looked
suspect. Welch fired a foot over on 7 minutes and Carr and Welch had
further attempts on goal.
The game settled into a pattern where Vics had a good spell of
possession and both teams looked suspect at the back but good going
forward. However, neither keeper was seriously troubled as the final
passes were not quite good enough. On 29 minutes Vics won another corner
and another Welch shot was blocked and from the resulting clearance
Vics fell victim to the classic breakaway goal. The ball was played
up the left and then passed across the pitch to Harrad just inside
his own half and he took it down the right and crossed for Corbett to
finish clinically from within the box. It was rough justice on Vics who now looked the better team, but their response was immediate and within a minute it was 2-1. Burns carried the ball into the left side
of the box and squeezed a lovely shot between the diving Poole and
the far post. Vics looked like equalising and perhaps Akins should
have when Horrocks pulled the ball back to him but the box was
crowded and his reaction shot rolled harmlessly wide. Come half time
and Burton probably were glad to have the break still leading.
A neutral would probably have been disappointed at Burton's first
half showing, given their league position, and it was no surprise
when they came out looking a much more positive side. The game was
never really in doubt in the second half. Vics never really
threatened and the Burton pressure continued to build. Vics defence continued to look a little slow and, perhaps, inexperienced and it
was no surprise when the defensive shortcomings produced a goal.
Farrell made the most of a Kerr mistake on the edge of the box, won
the ball and squared it for Harrad and his weak shot saw Tynan make
his only mistake when it squirmed under his body and rolled into the
net. After that it was a formality and the fourth goal came off a
corner when it was headed down and towards the far post by Simpson
and Webster came in at the back to score from 2 yards. Burton
dominated until the end although Vics never gave up trying.
It would be a little unfair to be too critical given the strength of
the opponents and the massive change in playing staff that will need
time to settle. The good points were the attacking flair and speed of
the forwards (Burns looks very promising) and the overall attempts of
the team to play a passing game. Tynan looks a rock at the back
despite his one mistake today. Of concern was the vulnerability of
the defence and the inexperience of some players at this level, and
some may struggle in the longer term. Vics need time, but that may
not be a luxury they have much of. A bit of good fortune would not
go amiss either!!