BURTON ALBION 1
EXETER CITY 0
BURTON Albion continued their excellent start to the season with a 1-0 win over Exeter City at the Pirelli Stadium last night.
Stuart Beavon scored the only goal of the game just before half-time as the Brewers made it four wins on the spin.
Not since the 1956-57 Birmingham League Division One season have Albion won their first four games.
Then, they won five on the bounce, including a 6-1 battering of local rivals Gresley Rovers.
Last night the game was considerably tighter than that, although some terrific saves from Exeter's teenage keeper, Christie Pym, thwarted Burton on several occasions.
The performance was solid and patient – and a second clean sheet of the season was welcome.
More is to come, but the signs are looking good for Gary Rowett's promotion chasers.
The manager made just the one change after the 2-1 win over Dagenham, with George Taft replaced at left-back by Callum McFadzean.
Lucas Akins wore a cast on his left arm after breaking his hand against the Daggers.
Adam McGurk was fit enough to return after a hip problem and replaced Billy Kee on the bench after the striker's sale to Scunthorpe.
Young striker Sam Austin featured in a senior Brewers squad for the first time, with the whole bench apart from McGurk under the age of 23.
Exeter featured former Derby midfielder Matt Oakley, now at the ripe old age of 37.
After just 63 seconds Pym pulled off a magnificent flying save to deny John Mousinho from 16 yards as he got onto a loose ball following an Akins shot.
After a couple of corners, Pym was again in the right place to claim a fierce Mousinho volley.
Following their sharp opening, Albion came under a spell of pressure from the visitors.
But they held their shape well and broke out, with Akins slicing wide from a Beavon pass following an accurate Ian Sharps long pass.
Robbie Weir almost gifted Exeter the lead on 12 minutes with a suicidal back header to Jon McLaughlin that fell to Graham Cummins, but the Brewers stopper was out in a flash to block the Irish striker's shot.
On 25 minutes, Akins stung Pym's palms with a fierce hit from the edge of the box after Phil Edwards had done superbly to keep the ball in. A yard either way and it was 1-0.
Four minutes later, the 19-year-old Exeter keeper pulled off another tremendous stop to turn away Akins' powerful header from a cracking Edwards cross.
Albion had created some decent openings and earned their reward with half-time looming as Beavon broke the deadlock with a goal seemingly from nothing.
Oakley headed McFadzean's long throw up in the air and the Albion striker reacted quickest to slam a low volley across Pym from 10 yards. There was nothing the young keeper could do about it.
Weir tried his luck from range on 50 minutes but Pym was safely behind his shot.
On the hour, Liam Sercombe had a free kick deflected over for the visitors after Sharps was penalised for a foul on Cummins.
Four minutes later, Mousinho was left prostrate after a 50-50 challenge with Matt Grimes but recovered after some treatment from physio Nick Fenton.
Dominic Knowles cut in on his left foot on 70 minutes but Pym was right behind his low shot from the edge of the area.
Edwards also needed treatment after he was clattered from behind by Sercombe, who got a yellow card. He seemed to have hurt his shoulder.
Weir was next to catch a late tackle, this time from Jordan Tillson near the touchline.
With five minutes to go Albion broke through Beavon. But he waited too long before shooting and also ignored Akins on his right before winning a corner.
From McFadzean's kick, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, who was outstanding at the back, got to the ball but his header squeezed across the box.
With three minutes left, Scot Bennett almost nicked a point for the Grecians but McLaughlin parried his header and Albion scrambled it away for a corner.
There was still time for Marcus Harness to embark on an exciting run into the box and for Edwards to get clattered again, this time by Ollie Watkins.
BREWERS (4-4-2): McLaughlin; Edwards, Sharps (capt), Cansdell-Sherriff, McFadzean; Akins, Mousinho, Weir, MacDonald; Beavon, Knowles (Harness 81). Subs not used: Lyness (gk), Slade, Taft, Palmer, McGurk, Austin.
GRECIANS (5-3-1-1): Pym; Butterfield, Bennett (capt), Baldwin, Tillson (Watkins 86), Woodman; Oakley, Sercombe, Grimes; Keohane (Wheeler 61); Cummins. Subs not used: Hamon (gk), Davies, Dawson, Jay, Pope.
REFEREE: M Heywood (Cheshire).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Shane Cansdell-Sherriff – went quietly about his business and made some crucial blocks and clearance.
MATCH VERDICT: Not a vintage performance, but Albion again ground out a good result and created some good chances.