Report: Brewers 1-0 Stags
Billy Kee’s late winner consigned Mansfield Town to a 1-0 defeat at the Pirelli Stadium.
Kee converted Adam McGurk’s cross to earn the Brewers a fourth home win of the season, which consolidates their place in the Sky Bet League Two play-off zone.
However, the Stags should have been awarded a spot-kick with five minutes remaining, when a Burton defender blatantly handled inside the area.
Stags boss Paul Cox made just one change to the side that lost 5-4 at Fleetwood Town on Saturday, with Godfrey Poku replacing Anthony Howell in central midfield.
On a cold night at the Pirelli Stadium, the hosts started strongly and won the first corner after just three minutes, when Alan Marriott was forced to tip wide Chris Hussey’s deep free-kick.
Burton were unable to cause any danger with the subsequent corner, but only a minute later Marriott was called into action again when he saved Damien McCrory’s close-range stab-shot.
The Stags gradually began to settle, but their first corner came to nothing as referee Rob Lewis spotted a foul by Martin Riley at the far-post.
Marriott made his third save of the match on 11 minutes, when McGurk hit a powerful 25-yard attempt straight at the Stags’ custodian.
Mansfield were forced to make a change on the quarter-hour as Ritchie Sutton left the pitch through injury and was replaced by winger Lindon Meikle.
As a result of the substitution, Lee Beevers switched to right-back, whilst Junior Daniel moved to left-back, with Meikle taking up a position on the left side of midfield.
The Brewers then enjoyed a sustained spell of pressure in which they were unfortunate not to take a lead.
Dominic Knowles drilled an effort straight at Marriott from the edge of the area on 18 minutes, before McGurk curled a free-kick wide, just a few moments later.
Burton continued to enjoy superior possession, but neither Robbie Weir nor McGurk could find the target with speculative attempts from distance.
The Brewers took a route-one approach to try and find an opener and went close on 33 minutes, when Knowles blazed over following McGurk’s clever flick on.
Hussey then brought a dour match to life just three minutes later, when he whipped an inviting cross towards the back-post, having burst past Riley.
An unmarked McGurk rose highest to meet his cross, but his header across the face of goal evaded everyone and was eventually hooked away to safety by John Dempster.
Gary Rowett’s side continued to apply the pressure in the lead up to half-time, with Marriott forced to gather the ball in his own six-yard box as one Burton attack broke down.
Brewers keeper Dean Lyness was called into action when he plucked a Sam Clucas cross out of the air at his near-post, with Ollie Palmer lurking just a few yards away.
Moments later, Mansfield drew a fine save from Lyness as they created the best chance of the first period.
Lee Stevenson and Clucas shared a one-two midway inside the Burton half, before a full-stretch Lyness advanced off his line and superbly palmed away Stevenson’s goalbound shot.
Burton tried to carve out a chance at the other end, but it remained 0-0 at the interval.
The Stags attacked towards the noisy travelling contingent after the re-start, and immediately pressed forward in search of an opener.
Dempster was unfortunate to be penalised for a foul inside the Burton penalty area, after Palmer showed some clever footwork to win Mansfield a corner.
However, Burton enjoyed two opportunities in quick succession as they sought to record their fourth home win of the Sky Bet League Two campaign.
Hussey saw a deflected free-kick comfortably saved by Marriott on 52 minutes, before Shane Cansdell-Sherriff headed wide at the back-post following a corner.
The momentum constantly swung in favour of either side and in the next attack, Mansfield were only denied by a point-blank stop from Lyness.
Clucas teased his marker as he weaved his way to the by-line, where his deep delivery towards the far-post was headed down by Meikle, but brilliantly kept out the legs of Lyness.
The Stags threw Matt Rhead into the action for the last 25 minutes, and the bustling frontman made a nuisance of himself straight away.
Rhead distracted Burton defenders as Chris Clements’ long free-kick forwards fell kindly for Clucas, whose header was straight at Lyness.
Burton, who by now were on the back-foot, then made a double substitution with Kee and Rene Howe thrown on in favour of Knowles and Matty Palmer.
However, it was Mansfield who had the next chance when Beevers drilled an effort across goal, which Lyness was somehow able to scramble into his path.
On 79 minutes, the Stags were left facing the prospect of a fifth straight as Kee broke the deadlock with a simple close-range header, following a right-sided cross by McGurk.
Howe almost sealed all three points for Burton with seven minutes remaining when he caught a glimpse of goal, but hit a low drive straight at Marriott.
Moments later, the Stags should have been awarded a spot-kick when a Burton defender blatantly handled the ball inside the area.
Despite voiciferous appeals from both supporters and players alike, no penalty was forthcoming as the incident was missed by the officials.
With only two minutes of normal time remaining, Mansfield went close to snatching an equaliser when Rhead headed over, following a great set-piece by Clements towards the back-post.
Four minutes of stoppage-time were indicated; during which Burton were seemingly content to run down the clock at every possible opportunity.
There was to be one last half-chance as Junior Daniel’s long ball forward was flicked on by Rhead, but just evaded an advancing Meikle inside the area.