BILLY Kee became Burton Albion’s joint-top goalscorer in the Football League as he struck to earn the Brewers a point against York City.
The 23-year-old’s sixth of the season in the league on Saturday saw him equal Shaun Harrad in Albion’s list of League Two goalscorers with 31 since he joined the club in 2011.
But it was a frustrating afternoon at the Pirelli Stadium for Gary Rowett’s men as they looked to make it a fourth win on the bounce in the league and stay with the leading pack.
Robbie Weir and Rene Howe missed good chances in the first half to give Albion the lead before Shane Cansdell-Sherriff’s unfortunate own goal gave the Minstermen a 1-0 lead just after the hour.
Kee pounced just eight minutes later to level with his third goal in his last three appearances.
Despite some late pressure, Burton could not quite force a winner and had to settle for a draw.
The point keeps them in sixth spot and the draw means they have lost just twice in their last 11 outings in all competitions.
Albion were far from their best in very difficult conditions, but again showed their spirit to come back and snatch a positive result.
York may be involved in a relegation scrap but showed admirable battling qualities themselves to secure a sixth draw in eight games.
On the day, a draw was probably a fair reflection of the match and, importantly, Albion did not lose as Rowett seeks consistency going into the Christmas period.
The manager made one change to the side which drew 1-1 at Fleetwood in the FA Cup a week previously, with Kee replacing Adam McGurk after he was ruled out with the concussion he suffered in the cup clash.
Michael Symes returned to the bench after recovering from the groin strain he picked up at Dagenham, but Rory Delap missed out on a recall as he builds fitness following a hamstring tear.
It was a slow start from both sides as York looked to get men behind the ball and Albion probed for a breakthrough.
The high winds made for a difficult game but when Burton got the ball down and played it they showed glimpses of genuine class.
Just before the quarter-hour, Kee showed why Rowett rates him as the best striker in the bottom two divisions on his day.
Alex MacDonald fired a ball in from the right and Kee controlled it elegantly before laying a perfectly weighted through ball beyond the York defence for Weir to run onto.
With the pass cutting out York centre-half Keith Lowe, Weir had only Aaron McCarey to beat in the visiting goal but snatched at his shot 16 yards out and fired straight at the keeper.
As the half-hour mark approached, the Brewers upped the tempo and started to look dangerous – with the improvement coming after Chris Hussey went to the right wing and MacDonald to the left.
On 35 minutes, Hussey lit the game up when he dribbled past Josh Carson and Ben Davies, only to be bodychecked by David McGurk as he looked to get through. The foul earned the York skipper a yellow card.
Howe, back in for his first start at the Pirelli since September, then had a shot blocked. With half-time approaching, the powerfully built striker had an even better chance and will be wondering how he missed from close range.
The lively MacDonald and Damien McCrory played a one-two past Luke O’Neill out near the left touchline and MacDonald fired a low ball across the six-yard area which just needed a touch but Howe, who would normally have burst the net, fluffed his lines.
Hussey then had McCarey scrambling across goal in first-half stoppage time but his shot dribbled just wide.
York were much better in the second half and Phil Edwards had to pull off an excellent tackle to nick the ball from Wes Fletcher before Dean Lyness, who had been given little to do, managed to parry away Elliott Whitehouse’s cross-shot.
On the hour, Howe shrugged off McGurk, went to the left of a labouring Lowe and crashed a shot just wide from 18 yards.
But three minutes later – and before they had registered a shot on target –York took the lead.
Substitute Michael Coulson swung the ball in and Cansdell-Sherriff went up with the dangerous Ryan Jarvis and the ball skewed off the top of his head, over Lyness and into the corner of the goal.
York could even have gone 2-0 up as Whitehouse flicked a corner on for Lowe to head at goal, but Weir was there on the line to clear.
The visitors were made to pay for the miss as Kee levelled with around 20 minutes to go.
McCrory, who improved as the afternoon went on, volleyed an excellent ball forward for the striker.
He controlled it on the edge of the area and turned Lowe before blasting a low finish past McCarey at his near post from around 12 yards.
On 73 minutes, from their first corner of the afternoon, Albion could have nosed ahead. MacDonald swung the ball in and Weir headed down from six yards, but the ball bounced up and over the bar.
The Brewers pressed for the winner but the closest they came was on 90 minutes as Sharps headed a corner back for Weir, whose header was blocked in a crowded area.