The Pirelli Stadium

The Pirelli Stadium

Burton Albion 2 Middlesbrough 1

BORO missed a host of chances and conceded 20 seconds from time to crash out of the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON at the Pirelli Stadium, reports GORDON COX.

The Boro side showed five changes after the draw with Norwich.

Jason Steele, Barry Robson and Marvin Emnes missed out through injury and Tarmo Kink was dropped to the bench, while speculation continued to surround the future of David Wheater.

In came Danny Coyne for his first game since the opening game of the season and Tony McMahon returned to right-back, with Justin Hoyte moving to the right side of midfield, while Seb Hines replaced Wheater.

Gary O'Neil returned from illness to train late in the week and was back in the starting line-up, as was Kris Boyd, who came in for Kink.

There was a distinctly youthful look to a bench that included five Academy graduates, Connor Ripley, who has just signed his first pro contract, Luke Williams, Richard Smallwood, Jonathan Franks and Cameron Park, who accompanied Kink and Andrew Halliday.

Ex-Boro team-mate of Tony Mowbray and Stephen Pears, 47-year-old goalkeeper Kevin Poole, was on the bench for Burton, but there was no place for former Boro Academy player Keith Gilroy, or Whitby-born defender Richard Jackson.

After doing much of the early running and winning a corner with less than two minutes played, Boro found themselves forced back when a misdirected pass from Nick Bailey was intercepted around the halfway line, but Hines read the break well and stemmed the danger.

When Joe Bennett was brought down a few yards up from the edge of the Burton box Boro sniffed a chance, O'Neil tapped to Boyd and Adam Legzdins did well to palm away a fierce shot.

Back came Boro, this time down the right and a McMahon cross was headed behind by central defender Nathan Stanton with his goalkeeper standing waiting to gather.

Boro continued to probe for a breakthrough and O'Neil combined with Leroy Lita to set up Boyd inside the box. He was quickly crowded out but found Justin Hoyte, whose low shot from 10 yards was deflected for another corner.

Alert to the problems the visitors were causing, Burton switched formation with just 15 minutes played, changing the position of three players and adopting a 4-3-2-1 shape.

But it was Boro who were next to threaten and Boyd, slightly off balance, saw a low shot deflected from harm's way.

It looked as though Boro had found a way through with 25 minutes played as Julio Arca shot goalwards from a good position inside the box and beat the goalkeeper, but skipper John McGrath had tracked back from centre-midfield to clear as the ball rolled towards the the line.

Shortly after Bailey shot over from 25 yards Burton created a rare half-chance as central midfielder Adam Boulder skipped past Bailey approaching the edge of the Boro box and set up Jacques Maghoma, but the left-midfielder was a little too keen and shot over from the edge of the box.

The final 10 minutes of the half saw Burton with more of the ball, Boro threatening less and the home side have their first shot on target at Russell Penn pounced on a weak headed clearance from Bennett to drill low from the edge of the box. The shot was blocked before Coyne was forced into a save.

Approaching injury-time Boro broke quickly through the middle with Arca picking out O'Neil, who brought a scooping block from Legzdins with a low drive from the edge of the penalty area.

Half-time: Burton Albion 0 Middlesbrough 0

Boro were wrongly denied an opening goal within the first two minutes of the second half as McMahon cracked the crossbar from 14 yards, Boyd tucked in the rebound and was adjudged to be offside - he wasn't.

Burton, having made one change during the break, quickly made two more, but the breakthrough came just short of the hour and it was Boro who made it.

Lita was fouled around five yards up from the edge of the penalty area and there was a debate about who would take the free-kick. That responsibility fell to Gary O'Neil, who curled an unstoppable shot beyond the despairing arms of Legzdins and into the goalkeeper's top right-hand corner.

Boyd nearly made it two a few minutes later as he rose to make good contact to a McMahon cross from the right, but his header was just wide.

Lita shot over and Boyd had an effort blocked as Boro looked to kill the game off but apart from increasing their corner count, they achieved little reward.

When Arca burst through the middle with options either side it looked a certain Boro opening, but he delayed his selection and was eventually denied any as he was dispossessed and Albion broke.

With the home fans appealing for a penalty as Bailey blocked, Penn followed up with a low shot from which McMahon drew the sting with a good block and Coyne, amid further claims for handball following the block, gathered comfortably.

With Boro failing to wrap the tie up despite a host of chances, Burton's pluck paid off with eight minutes remaining as a low cross was swung deep into Boro's penalty area from the right and leading scorer Shaun Harrad got in front of Boro's defenders to tuck in with a left-footed overhead touch finish past Coyne from eight yards.

It almost got worse in the closing minutes as Greg Pearson was left unmarked on the edge of the box and it took a good block to keep him out.

And it did get worse, terminally for their cup hopes, with around 20 seconds remaining when Boro failed to deal with a Burton free-kick into the penalty area, Shaun Harrad pounced on a loose ball and smashed home from eight yards.

Burton Albion: Legzdins; Austin, Stanton (James 46), Moore (Phillips 56), Malone, Penn, Bolder, McGrath (Capt) (Pearson 52), Maghoma, Webster, Harrad. Subs: Poole (gk); Boertien, Young, Hughes.

Middlesbrough: Coyne; McMahon, Hines, Bates (Capt), Bennett, Hoyte, Bailey, Arca, O'Neil, Boyd (Franks 82), Lita. Subs: Ripley (gk); Smallwood, L Williams, Halliday, Park, Kink.

Referee: Steve Tanner, Somerset.


Burton Albion: Penn
, 40, foul.

Middlesbrough: None

Attendance: 5,236 (1,430 Boro)

Conditions: Cool, dry and still.

Website Boro Man of the Match: Julio Arca




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