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Match report: Burton Albion 1, York City 1 - Sky Bet League Two
IT might be the season of good will, but York City must stop presenting opposition teams with goals so soon after finding the net themselves.
Ideally, before the Christmas decorations come down.
Billy Kee’s point-earning equaliser, scored swiftly after his Burton team-mate Shane Cansdell-Sherriff had headed through his own goal, represented the seventh time Nigel Worthington’s men have conceded within eight minutes of hitting the target this term.
Those goals have gone in two, three (twice), four, six, seven and eight minutes after the City efforts and have contributed significantly to the 14 points the team have now surrendered from winning positions – the gap that still separates Saturday’s combatants in the League Two standings after a closely-contested encounter.
Worthington’s pre-match assertion that there was very little difference between his 20th-placed side and their promotion-chasing hosts was, therefore, borne out somewhat, but that will be of scant consolation if the discrepancy between points gained and performance levels does not correct itself soon.
An inability to convert draws into victories spelled trouble for Gary Mills’ team last term and, with this season’s side having shared the spoils now in six of the last eight games without a win, addressing that record will be high on Worthington’s Yuletide wish list, along with a greater resolve to hold on to leads longer by eliminating those swift equalisers.
Of course, taking a share of the spoils at a Burton team, who had started the afternoon one point behind leaders Oxford and having won four of their last five home games, was still a creditable result.
But, with the division so evenly-matched, City must try to press home any advantages they gain in matches regardless of the opposition. The visitors started positively at the Pirelli Stadium with Lanre Oyebanjo heading into home ’keeper Dean Lyness’ hands after three minutes from Luke O’Neill’s cross.
Oyebanjo then raided down the right, helping create an edge-of-the-box chance that saw Lewis Montrose drive a deflected effort over Lyness’ bar.
Former City midfielder Robbie Weir had a great chance to open the scoring for the hosts, however, on 14 minutes when he left Montrose trailing in his wake with a rapid burst through the middle of the pitch that was picked out by Kee.
With only Aaron McCarey to beat, though, Weir sidefooted straight at the on-loan Wolves ’keeper from 12 yards.
Wes Fletcher was causing problems for the Brewers at the other end and hooked one chance over the bar from an unfavourable angle and then fired too high again from 25 yards after holding the ball up well and evading two home challenges.
Burton, however, grew stronger as half-time approached with Alex MacDonald blasting a 30-yard free-kick wide and McCarey parrying a long-distance attempt from home skipper Lee Bell before City summer target Rene Howe squandered the best chance of the half.
MacDonald showed O’Neill a clean pair of heels down the left flank before crossing to Howe in the six-yard box but, somehow, with the net at his mercy, the ex-Torquay target man sidefooted wide.
On the stroke of half-time, Chris Hussey also scuffed off target from a promising position.
The interval, therefore, was greeted with a fair amount of relief by City fans, whose team came out for the second period revitalised.
A left-wing cross from Elliott Whitehouse bounced dangerously in front of Lyness but the Burton shot-stopper managed to scramble the ball away to safety.
Whitehouse’s header also cleared the crossbar following a Josh Carson centre from the right.
Northern Ireland international Carson had changed flanks following Michael Coulson’s 57th-minute introduction and the City substitute was to make an immediate impact after Howe had shrugged off the attentions of David McGurk and Keith Lowe only to fire across the face of the visitors’ goal.
Swinging in an excellent ball from the left, Coulson lured Lyness off his line and, under pressure from Ryan Jarvis, on-loan Preston centre-back Cansdell-Sherriff headed into an unguarded net.
Carson fired wide from 20 yards shortly afterwards before Burton drew level with their next attack of the game. The competitive Kee won an aerial contest with Lowe and then squeezed a 12-yard shot inside McCarey’s right-hand upright.
Weir then charged unopposed on to a MacDonald corner to the far post but his downward hearer bounced up off the turf and over McCarey’s bar.
The Minstermen responded with a couple of tame Fletcher attempts and an Oyebanjo drive that flashed over, but it was Lowe who came closest to regaining the lead on 83 minutes.
His goal-bound header, after Whitehouse had won another aerial battle in the penalty box, was cleared by Weir.
The visitors also went on to survive a late scare when McCarey punched away an Ian Sharps header and substitute Jimmy Phillips shot wide from the rebound.
Burton Albion 1 (Kee 72), York City 1 (Cansdell-Sherriff og 64)
Aaron McCarey 6
Burton’s goal that squeezed inside his right-hand post proved a big blemish on his afternoon.
Luke O’Neill 7
Given a couple of defensive problems but put in some good crosses before exiting the action early in the second half.
Keith Lowe 7
Barely put a foot or head wrong until the eager Kee escaped his attentions for Burton’s equaliser.
David McGurk 7
Enjoyed a good physical contest with the strapping Howe and, while he lost the odd battle, coped well in general.
Ben Davies 8
Snuffed out pretty much everything down his flank and competed well against both of the home side’s wide men.
Lanre Oyebanjo 8
STAR MAN – made a purposeful start on the right wing and completed some timely interventions when restored to full-back.
Lewis Montrose 6
Won some important tackles in front of the back four but distribution let him down on occasions.
Elliott Whitehouse 7
A little hurried and lacked composure at times but combative and determined to win every ball.
Josh Carson 8
Worked hard down both flanks and sent in several inviting crosses with both feet that deserved a finishing touch.
Ryan Jarvis 6
Showed a couple of good touches but found it hard to shake off Burton centre-backs Cansdell-Sherriff and Sharps.
Wes Fletcher 7
Started very brightly and caused Burton problems with his ability to retain possession in final third but quiet after interval.
Subs: Michael Coulson 7 – positive (for O’Neill, 57). Subs not used: Craig Clay, Sander Puri, Chris Dickinson, Cameron Murray, Ashley Chambers, Tom Platt.
Dean Lyness, Phil Edwards, Ian Sharps, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, Damien McCrory, Alex MacDonald (Jimmy Phillips, 83), Robbie Weir, Lee Bell, Chris Hussey (Matty Palmer, 67), Rene Howe, Billy Kee. Subs not used: Benjamin Siegrist, Zander Diamond, Dominic Knowles, Marcus Holness, Michael Symes.
Star man: Sharps – gave no quarter in an uncompromising display.
Referee: Graham Horwood (Bedfordshire).
Rating: 8/10 – called most things right and was decisive.
Booked: David McGurk 35, Alex MacDonald 81.
Sent off: None.
Shots on target: Burton 8, City 4.
Shots off target: Burton 6, City 7.
Corners: Burton 3, City 6.
Fouls conceded: Burton 10, City 13.
Offsides: Burton 4, City 1.
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