GARY Rowett saluted the finishing skills of Calvin Zola and Matt Paterson as Burton Albion registered their first win of 2013.
The Brewers fought back from a half-time deficit to beat Torquay United 2-1 at the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday and leap back into a League Two play-off place.
Manager of the month Rowett saw his side struggle to find any impetus against the Gulls until Zola produced a lethal strike to level the scores with his 12th goal of the season in the 59th minute.
And Paterson, who had been out of the side since a groin injury back in November, came off the bench to conjure up a brilliant winner with a curling shot from outside the box six minutes from the end.
Rowett said: “I think what we saw in this game is that it’s the first time for quite a while that someone has come off the bench and changed the game a little bit.
“It’s a reward for Pato in a way because he’s not had the chances he’s wanted, but he’s been patient.
“He’s done all the right things, he’s kept his head up and he’s come on and scored the winner.
“I’ve got to be honest, you probably wouldn’t see a better goal in the country today.
“Calvin’s goal was also a brilliant finish because, again, we were looking for a bit of inspiration at that point in the game.
“We knew we’d have a little bit more of the ball in the second half, and we knew we’d have balls in and around the box.
“But we still needed someone to come up with a bit of brilliance. I thought it was a fantastic strike from Calvin, who I thought all game stood up really well in a good encounter with two physical centre-backs.”
Torquay were the better team in the first half and took the lead through Ryan Jarvis in the 43rd minute.
Rowett said “First half we looked a little bit leggy and didn’t play with the tempo that we showed against Rochdale and Southend in our previous home games.
“But you’ve got to remember that Torquay are a good side, with plenty of energy, and I think they’ll be knocking around challenging for a play-off position.
“Their goal was disappointing because we have a tendency not to get our shape properly and do it with enough professionalism in certain situations.
“We allowed them to get a throw-in and get a cross in that went out for a corner that resulted in their goal.
“We’ve got to be better than that because Chesterfield was the same where we conceded a goal almost directly from a throw-in.
“We need to do better at stopping things at source.
“But knew that they tended to concede late goals and we said at half-time we just had to keep doing the right things.
“We thought if we did get one, we’d go on to get another. We just kept going until that happened.
“It can be a case that someone scores before us and gives us a test. The interesting thing is how you respond to it.”
Rowett is hoping the victory proves a big boost to his side and helps to wipe out the memory of last season’s collapse which saw the Brewers slide out of the play-off zone and into a relegation battle, but acknowledges his side still need to improve their away record.
The Brewers boss said: “It’s really nice to get the first win of the new year so quickly.
“I don’t think too much about last season but had we lost one-nil today instead of coming back to win it, that would have been three losses in a row.
“It was important that we bounced back and got a win under our belts.”
“We’ve picked up some really good points at home, but really we’re back in the same situation where we’ve got to build away from home and be a bit harder to play against.
“It’s going to be a big test because our next game is at Northampton, who are excellent at home and a really powerful side.”