NATHAN Stanton bagged only the second goal of his career — and his first for Burton Albion — as the Brewers completed a remarkable and unlikely comeback to snatch three points at Plymouth Argyle and move up to fifth in the League Two table.
Stanton, who was making his 431st league appearance, headed home at the second attempt in the 74th minute after fellow centre-back Zander Diamond’s effort from substitute Chris Palmer’s corner had been clawed out by Pilgrims keeper Jake Cole.
The defender’s only other goal came in a play-off game during his spell at Rochdale — and he could not have picked a better time to break his Albion duck with his side having looked toothless in attack prior to his intervention.
The turnaround was completed five minutes later when midfielder Robbie Weir headed home Palmer’s teasing cross from the left at the far post.
The comeback must have stunned all in attendance at Home Park as the visitors had failed to muster a single shot on target until the melee which led to Stanton’s goal.
The hosts took the lead four minutes into the second half and all the credit goes to striker Warren Feeney, who produced a terrific turn to create space before threading a ball through to substitute Paris Cowan-Hall.
He cut back on his left foot and beat Oxley at his near post from 12 yards.
However, Albion’s victory was not without some controversy as striker Billy Kee appeared as a second-half substitute despite the fact he did not appear on the Brewers’ team-sheet.
Brewers boss Gary Rowett decided on a change of formation, switching from his usual 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 line-up.
There was no change in the back four which lined up in front of goalkeeper Mark Oxley, but Jack Dyer came into the team alongside Lee Bell as the two holding midfielders.
In front of them were the recalled Cleveland Taylor, who replaced on-loan Jordan Chapell, who picked up an injury in training, Weir and Jacques Maghoma.
Calvin Zola led the line on his own, with Kee the other man to drop out following Sunday’s 3-3 FA Cup first round Pirelli Stadium draw with Altrincham.
Plymouth made five changes to their line-up following their shock FA Cup defeat to non-league Dorchester on Sunday.
They were without the suspended Conor Hourihane, while central defender Darren Purse was ruled out by injury, but former Burton Albion winger Andres Gurrieri started against his former employers.
After a tepid opening, the first chance came the way of the visitors on 11 minutes, but Weir scuffed his shot well wide after Zola had chested down Dyer’s ball on the edge of the penalty area.
The hosts made a change on 28 minutes, with Cowan-Hall coming on for injured midfielder Alex MacDonald.
Three minutes later and Taylor went into the referee’s book for a foul on Gurrieri.
There was finally some goalmouth action on 36 minutes with left-back Onismor Bhasera firing just wide from the edge of the area after a Jamie Lowry corner from the left was headed out by the Brewers.
The hosts were inches away from breaking the deadlock five minutes before half-time when central defender Curtis Nelson got on the end of Lowry’s free-kick from the right, but Oxley managed to claw the effort away.
Then, in a move which baffled everyone, Kee replaced Taylor after 55 minutes.
Five minutes later and Nelson got on the end of Lowry’s corner, but header well over the bar.
Rowett made his second change on 61 minutes, with Palmer replacing Jacques Maghoma for his first appearance since injuring his ankle at Rochdale in September.
Gurrieri then let fly with his right foot from 25 yards out in the left channel and Oxley had to punch the effort away.
The introduction of Palmer proved crucial as he created both Albion goals.