ADAM Reed admitted his relief at netting Burton Albion’s winner against Accrington Stanley on Saturday – if only to avoid a rollicking from Michael Symes.
The former Sunderland midfielder looked to have denied the Brewers victory at the Crown Ground when he instinctively tapped home Symes’ goal-bound shot from an offside position.
However, his team-mate’s wrath was tempered in the eight minute of stoppage time when Reed charged into the box to meet Adam McGurk’s low cross and nick the ball beyond the Stanley goalkeeper.
That flick of the foot – virtually the last of the game – earned the Brewers a second away win of the season, with Gary Rowett’s men up to third in League Two and still unbeaten.
On the timing of the goal Reed said: “It was a good tome to score, wasn’t it?
“I think the one before that it was going in anyway and I tried to take it off Symesy – it was just instinctive.
“He’s already had a quiet word in my ear.
“But hopefully I’ve made it up by scoring the next one.
“I just kept working hard and it was a good ball in from McGurk for me to score the goal.
“It got us three points, which is the most important thing.”
Accrington slumped to the bottom of the table with this defeat, but they made it hard for the visitors in a largely even game, something Albion will have to get used to as one of the division’s promotion favourites.
“It was a tough one today, and it’s a tough place to come, but I think the lads showed they can defend when we come to places like this,” said Reed.
“It wasn’t always pretty and we know we can play better than that.
“They stuck to their task and we got a result in the end.
“It’s a good sign that we can win when we’re not playing our best like we did today (Saturday).
“Over the course of the game we dug in and stuck by each other – and got our reward.”
Reed started the first game of the season away at Cheltenham Town, but since Lee Bell returned from suspension, has been used as a substitute, often in a less-favoured position out wide.
However, he impressed in what ended up being a 60-minute cameo against Fulham in midweek, and got the nod ahead of Robbie Weir in the centre of the park against Stanley.
“The gaffer has shown a lot of faith and started me today,” he said.
“It’s been frustrating not getting in the team, but you’ve just got to keep your head down, work hard and hope that comes off.
“The gaffer has seen the work I’ve done in training, started me, and hopefully I’ve repaid that with the goal.
“Central midfield is my preferred position but I‘ll play anywhere to help the team.
“I’ve come here to play and hopefully I’ve done enough to keep my place.”
Albion eventually lost the League Cup second-round tie against Fulham 5-4 on penalties, and Reed, who scored one of his side’s spot-kicks, said: “You want to play against the best players which I had a bit of a chance to do.
“The lads worked really hard on Tuesday and showed that we’ve got quality in our side.
“If we take that into the league then we should be there or thereabouts.
“We’ve got a good squad this season with a lot of strength in depth.
“We can still improve and hopefully we can keep this consistency going.”