BURTON Albion slipped to a disappointing defeat as Aldershot Town continued their battle to climb away from the League Two danger zone at the Pirelli Stadium, writes REX PAGE.
The Brewers looked a tired and jaded team in their third outing in six days and could find no answer to an early goal by Spanish striker Dani Lopez.
The loan signing from Stevenage caught Albion cold in he fourth minute and Gary Rowett’s side rarely looked like recovering from the blow.
They created few opportunities and were unable to turn late pressure into a goal as they slumped to a rare home defeat.
Top scorer Calvin Zola was left out of Albion’s line-up to allow him more time to recover from the head injury he sustained during the first half of Saturday’s 3-2 defeat of Dagenham & Redbridge.
Matt Paterson, who came off the bench to score in that game, partnered Billy Kee up front.
New signing Jacob Blyth was named among Albion’s substitutes after joining from Leicester City yesterday afternoon.
The 20-year-old striker has been signed on loan until January 12.
The Shots side included winger Kieron Cadogan, a former Albion loan signing in the Paul Peschisolido era.
Albion quickly made an opening but Jacques Maghoma could not get enough power on his header after Paterson nodded Anthony O’Connor’s cross to the edge of the six-yard box.
Danny Rose flashed a raking low drive narrowly wide and Albion were quickly caught out to their cost for a second time in the fourth minute.
Danny Hylton flicked on a long ball forward and O’Connor could not get close enough to prevent Lopez from drilling a terrific low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Albion struggled to get into their stride until Chris Palmer forced Jamie Young into a full-length save with a fierce cross-shot after fastening onto a Paterson header in the 19th minute.
The Shots continued to look dangerous on the break and home keeper Dean Lyness was relieved to see a curling shot from Peter Vincenti miss the target by a narrow margin.
Kee, looking to build on his stunning winner against the Daggers, turned neatly when Damien McCrory lifted the ball to the edge of the area but Young was able to make a comfortable save before Paterson misdirected a header after finding some space in the Aldershot area.
The moderately promising spell for the home team quickly fizzled out, though they did have a chance to pull level in the 44th minute.
Skipper Zander Diamond headed down a McCrory cross but Paterson’s effort was clawed to safety by Young.
Albion could have few compaints about the half-time scoreline after failing to do the basics for much of the first period.
There was no immediate sign of an improvement by the Brewers after the break as the Shots continued to look the more composed team and better on the ball.
Hylton could have increased the visitors’ lead in the 57th minute but Hylton’s shot flew narrowly wide after the ball fell invitingly for him just inside the area.
The Brewers then made their first change, with new boy Blyth kept waiting as Justin Richards took over from Paterson.
Lyness then had to make a stunning reflex save to keep out a six-yard volley from the dangerous Lopez.
The escape seemed to liven up Albion and Kee forced a full-length save from Young after turning onto a Richards pass.
Club skipper John McGrath joined the fray in place of the lacklustre Robbie Weir in the 69th minute.
Blyth finally got his chance to make an instant impression when he replaced Maghoma in the 79th minute.
His back header caused a moment of panic for the visitors but Anthony Tonkin was to hack the ball to safety.
The debutant also forced a save out of Young with another header in added time as the Shots held on for a deserved victory.