BURTON Albion closed to within three points of the automatic promotion spots as Callum McFadzean's first goal for the club gave them a narrow win over visiting Plymouth Argyle at the Pirelli Stadium.
The on-loan Sheffield United midfielder netted an opportunistic strike after a mistake in the Pilgrims back-line to put the Brewers deservedly in front.
The Brewers had plenty of chances before and after the opener, but in the final 20 minutes, were pressed back as the Pilgrims sought an equaliser to keep their own play-offs hopes intact.
Gary Rowett made two changes from the side who claimed a 0-0 draw at York City last weekend, with Phil Edwards and Adam McGurk dropping out through injury.
Edwards made the bench after illness, with David Gray taking his spot at right-back and Jimmy Phillips slotting into midfield, while Gary Alexander replaced McGurk (thigh) up front.
And Alexander was at the heart of much of what was good about Albion in the opening spell, winning key headers, holding the ball up and issuing orders around the pitch with authority.
He also had two good chances to open the scoring, one blocked at the far post after being found by Billy Kee, the second a volley from a corner that went just over.
Better opportunities came the way of Kee - whose shot on the turn was saved by Jake Cole - as well as Phillips and Damien McCrory, who both saw shots from wide positions rattle the woodwork.
In the 26th minute, an error in the Plymouth defence saw Matty Palmer through on goal, and though his shot was blocked, Kee squared the loose ball for McFadzean to slot home.
Right at the end of the half, McCrory had another go, letting fly from 35 yards, but Cole palmed his shot away.
Plymouth were much better in the second half, as Burton once again defended too deeply and invited pressure.
Ex-Brewer Gurrieri and Pilgrim skipper Conor Hourihane combined twice, with the latter denied on both occasions by Rob Lainton.
The Brewers had a great chance to seal the win late on when they finally broke clear of their lines, but when Phillips' shot - after a great run - was saved, substitute Michael Symes, making his first appearance since November, was unable to turn the rebound home.
Earlier, Symes' cross into the box was headed down by McFadzean, but Phillips flashed volley was inches wide.
Plymouth won a series of corners and got the ball into dangerous areas, with only an impressive defensive display from Ian Sharps and co, up against a significant physical presence, securing the points.
BURTON ALBION (4-4-2): Lainton; Edwards, Sharps, Cansdell-Sherriff, McCrory; Phillips, Bell, Palmer, McFadzean (Weir 81); Kee (MacDonald 56), Alexander (Symes 69); subs: Lyness, Edwards, Hemmings, Knowles.
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE (3-5-2): Cole; Trotman (Wotton 46), Blanchard, Nelson; Berry (Morgan 66), Gurrieri, Hourihane, Young (Blizzard 73), Purrington; Reid, Showunmi; subs: Dawson, Boco, Harvey, Thomas.