THE romance and magic of the FA Cup were in desperately short supply as Burton Albion’s hopes of a happy return to the King Power Stadium ended in disappointment on Saturday, writes REX PAGE.
More than 1,600 fans travelled in the expectation the Brewers might make the sparks fly in a repeat of their epic Capital One Cup victory over Championship giants Leiceser City back in August.
But the third round rematch proved a damp squib as a passionless affair ended with the Foxes exacting revenge without having to break sweat.
New signing Chris Wood fired Nigel Pearson’s side into the lead inside three minutes, and when Ritchie De Laet doubled the advantage in the 21st minute, the tie was as good as over.
Logically, of course, this is how it should have been on that memorable late summer evening when Albion pulled off arguably the greatest win in their history.
The chance of lightning striking twice was always a remote one and Pearson wheeled out his big guns to make absolutely sure he did not have to suffer another humiliation.
The early goals left Albion demoralised, subdued and with the modest ambition of making sure defeat did not turn into a rout.
There was small consolation in the fact that they did not concede again, though that was sometimes more by luck than judgement as City went into cruise control.
It all added up to a contest and an atmosphere more akin to a testimonial match rather than the anticipated full-blooded and meaty cup tie.
Albion had only isolated opportunities to claw their way back into the game and a low-key affair was summed up by a largely uneventful and impassive second half in which Gary Rowett’s men posed little or no threat to City’s goal.
See tomorrow's Burton Mail for a full report,