MARCUS Harness' hopes of getting his chance in the Burton Albion first team were helped with the winning goal as the Brewers beat Bedworth United 1-0 in their Birmingham Senior Cup quarter-final clash at the Oval.
Harness, who will hope to stake a claim in the absence of Zeli Ismail, struck from long-range in the first-half as Gary Rowett’s side earned a place in the semi-final, where they will host West Bromwich Albion.
Both sides were predictably unrecognisable from their most recent league outings, fielding a number of fringe and youth players.
Albion’s only senior-team players were Dean Lyness in goal and Jack Dyer in midfield, while youngsters Liam Slade and Harness were also among the starting XI.
Understandably, the game took time to settle into any sort of pattern, with neither keeper remotely troubled in the opening 20 minutes.
Albion youngster Isaac Currie had the first attempt on goal but it was a real defender’s effort and lacked the power to trouble Greenbacks goalkeeper Ash Malhotra.
Mark Shelton then used his pace to good effect, bursting into the box and seeing his attempted clearance blocked but fall kindly for Joe Doyle, whose goalbound shot was also charged down in a crowded area.
Then in the 32nd minute, Burton went ahead as Harness hit a shot from 20 yards that seemed to go through Malhotra.
Anthony Bevas then had United’s first shot in anger but it sailed well wide of target.
The width of the bar prevented Burton from extending their lead when Doyle sent Dyer down the right and he pulled the ball back for Leandro Browne, who crashed a shot from 16 yards against the bar.
Bedworth came within a whisker of levelling after the break when Bevas burst down the left and – despite appearing to be fouled – pulled the ball square for Alando Lewis, who hit it first time and was unlucky to see his shot hit the underside of the bar before being scrambled away.
John Bukasa then caused problems down the left and his cross went dangerously close to the far post with Lyness well beaten.
GREENBACKS: Malhotra, M Thompson (Sambrook 80), Bukasa, B Thompson, Walters, Cartwright (Tullin 60), Johnson (Branch 75), Mewies, Lewis, Lewars, Bevas; subs not used: Richards.
BREWERS: Lyness, Thorpe, O’Brien, Doyle, Currie, Slade, Browne (Austin 76), Dyer (Murfin 80), Dinanga, Shelton, Harnessl subs not used: Laggins, Richards, Horton.