JIMMY Phillips admitted to being “proud” after turning in a man-of-the-match performance to mark his 100th Football League game for Burton Albion.
The popular winger became only the fifth Brewer to reach a century of appearances as the Brewers grabbed a late 1-0 win at home to struggling Northampton Town yesterday.
Phillips was excellent – especially in the second half – as Albion threw the kitchen sink at their rock-bottom visitors, but a combination of poor finishing and a good display by Matt Duke on his return to Burton, meant they only had Ian Sharps’ 85th-minute winner to show for their dominance.
On being informed he had entered the Albion record books, Phillips said: “I’m learning new things all the time.
“I’ve just been told about the 100th game, and only the fifth player to do it as well.
“I’m proud to get to that landmark and hopefully I can keep going.
“I always give my best every time I get the chance to start and play, and hopefully I’ve done the fans proud.”
Phillips set up two chances for Billy Kee at the start of the second half and also tested Duke himself in the first period with a diving header at the far post that the keeper saved.
“I thought it was going to go in,” he said.
“The lads were just saying in there that I should have headed it down, but I did more of a defensive header than an attacking one.
“Heading’s not usually my forte, but I did honestly think it was in – it was a good save by the keeper.”
On the chances squandered by Kee he said: “Billy would usually score those, as he’s a really good finisher.
“But obviously not today.
“We had a few good chances where I thought you should have scored that or this, but in the end, no matter how late it comes, you don’t mind.
“As long as we got the win, that’s all that matters.”
Phillips’ chances in the Albion starting XI have been sporadic this season, and he played like a man with a point to prove, tormenting former Brewers Kevin Amankwaah down the left wing.
“I was here when he was – he’s a nice lad and a good player as well,” he said.
“It was a tough test, and though I knew what he was about a bit, I think he knew what I was about as well.
“It was nice to get a bit of the ball out wide, as there’s some games when it can be a bit frustrating.
“I got on the ball a bit more and managed to do something with it.”
Albion and Northampton have shared some goal-laden encounters over the past four seasons, including a six-goal thriller in this tie last season as they teams drew 3-3.
A newly-austere Burton have not seen many scorelines even close to that this season, with yesterday marking their eighth 1-0 win of the season.
However, Phillips said:”I think if you’d offered us before the game a 3-3 thriller or a 1-0, anyone would take the 1-0.
“It was going to be a tough test against a team looking for a new manager, and lads trying to impress as well.”
“We dug in and got the result we needed.”
Albion’s run of festive fixtures has started well, with today’s win added to a point gained on the road at Hartlepool United last weekend, ahead of a tough test at home to league leaders Newport County on Sunday.
“It’ll be a different challenge, but we just have to prepare, get ourselves rested, and get ready for the game,” said Phillips.
“It’s always a tough time over Christmas, and we’ve started well with these two results, and we push on now.”