Cheltenham Town: Burton Albion steal a march in top three race
Burton Albion 3 Cheltenham Town 1
Cheltenham Town's automatic promotion hopes suffered a blow as their six-match unbeaten run was brought to an abrupt end by Burton Albion this afternoon.
The Brewers showed why they boast the most impressive home record in League, capitalising on some poor defensive work to race into a three-goal lead at the Pirelli Stadium.
Boss Mark Yates picked the same starting XI for the fourth match in succession, but unlike recent matches it failed to function and after a bright enough start, Cheltenham faded badly.
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Alex MacDonald put Gary Rowett's side ahead in the 22nd minute with a deflected shot after Cheltenham spurned several opportunities to clear their lines.
It was 2-0 to Burton in the 26th minute when the outstanding Robbie Weir headed in MacDonald's cross from the right, with Cheltenham's defenders nowhere to be seen.
Yates replaced ex-Burton man Russ Penn and Jason Taylor with Jermaine McGlashan and Byron Harrison at the break.
But three minutes into the second half Burton pulled further clear when Billy Kee stepped away from Michael Hector and crossed for Weir to nod in his second of the afternoon.
That ended the match as a contest, but Cheltenham did finish strongly and the one bright point of a forgettable afternoon was Harrison's first goal since signing from AFC Wimbledon on January 31.
He nodded in fellow substitute Kaid Mohamed's corner in the second minute of time added on.
Burton goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson was finally called into action in the final ten minutes, leading up to Harrison's consolation.
He reacted brilliantly to turn McGlashan's well-struck drive over the bar and he reached low to his right to stop an effort from Sam Deering.
It was a poor defensive effort from Cheltenham, who must lick their wounds and regroup ahead of next Saturday's home match against another of their promotion rivals, Rotherham United.
BURTON ALBION: S Tomlinson; A O’Connor, Z Diamond, I Sharps, D McCrory; A MacDonald, A O’Connor, L Bell, J Maghoma; B Kee, M Symes. Subs not used: A Corbett, C Zola, D Lyness, M Paterson, M Holness, J Dyer, A Drury.
CHELTENHAM TOWN: S Brown; K Lowe, M Hector, S Elliott, B Jones; R Penn (J McGlashan 46), M Pack J Taylor (B Harrison 46), D Carter (K Mohamed 72); S Deering; P Benson. Subs not used: D Duffy, C Roberts, S Harrad, S Jombati.
REFEREE: A Haines.
STAR MAN: Byron Harrison.
To re-live the action as it unfolded at the Pirelli Stadium, click below: