17:10 Wednesday 11 December 2013

VIDEO: Fleetwood Town 1, Burton Albion 1

Written byTOM SLOAN

BILLY Kee struck a dramatic equaliser in the dying seconds at Fleetwood to keep Burton Albion in the FA Cup.

The Brewers looked like they were heading out at the second round stage after Jeff Hughes struck on 82 minutes to give the Cod Army the lead.

But Albion refused to give up and threw the kitchen sink at their Lancashire hosts.

In the third minute of stoppage time Kee turned Mark Roberts in the box and prodded the ball past Scott Davies at his near post to spark wild celebrations from the 200-odd travelling fans.

It had been a frustrating afternoon in Lancashire for the Brewers and a far cry from their last two visits to Highbury Stadium.

In February they humbled Town with a 4-0 drubbing and in August were 3-0 up before holding on to win 3-2.

Fleetwood were in determined mood this time around and clearly intent on avoiding a third defeat.

It looked the game was heading for a 0-0 draw after little goalmouth action before Hughes got free at a corner to nod past Dean Lyness.

Defeat would have been harsh on Burton after they executed manager Gary Rowett’s game plan almost to perfection.

And they had Kee, on as a first-half substitute after Adam McGurk was knocked out, to thank for setting up a replay at the Pirelli Stadium a week tomorrow.

McGurk, who had passed a late fitness test on his heel to play, was taken to hospital after he was knocked unconscious by a combination of Lyness and Jon Parkin, Fleetwood’s man mountain of a target man.

After the game he was said to be groggy but had avoided serious injury in the incident.

The two goals and McGurk’s nasty clout apart, the match was short on action, although it did mark Rene Howe’s first start for the club since the 2-1 home defeat to Portsmouth on September 14.

The big striker has looked dangerous as a substitute of late after working hard to get back into the first-team squad following his omission.

He deserved to start and did not let anyone down. On a day when Albion were focusing more on not conceding than taking the game to Fleetwood, Howe – and fellow strikers Kee and McGurk – had to drop deep and help the midfield. This they did well, even if it was at the expense of goalscoring opportunities.

Rowett made two changes after the 1-0 win at Plymouth, with Alex MacDonald replacing Matty Palmer and Howe coming in for Dominic Knowles.

Michael Symes (groin) and Adam Reed (hamstring) were absent, while Rory Delap (hamstring) travelled and warmed up as he continues his recovery.

The only changes to the side from the 3-2 game in August were Phil Edwards for Delap at right-back and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff for Marcus Holness at centre-half.

MacDonald fired one just over on three minutes before Parkin – a decent player despite his reputation for brawn rather than brains – failed to quite connect with a Matty Blair cross as the ball dribbled through to Lyness.

Blair was a menace to Albion throughout the match and was Fleetwood’s best outlet against an organised Burton defence which at kick-off had shipped just three goals in nine games.

On 10 minutes, Conor McLaughlin got through too many wishy washy tackles from Albion before hammering a shot at goal from 20 yards which Lyness saved to his right.

There was also a worrying moment three minutes later when Damien McCrory tried to let the ball run through to Lyness but allowed Antoni Sarcevic in. The ball was eventually hurriedly cleared by Cansdell-Sherriff.

On the quarter-hour, the Brewers put together an excellent move.

MacDonald found space and got the ball to McGurk, whose low shot in the box was blocked.

Seconds later, McGurk returned the favour with a cracking ball to MacDonald, who found Chris Hussey unmarked at the back post but he got it all wrong and fired over from close range when he really should have hit the target.

The game then settled down and neither side created much.

On the half-hour, Lyness came out to claim a corner and collided with McGurk and Parkin. McGurk was left stricken on the pitch. After five minutes of treatment from physio James Rowland, Albion’s top scorer was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital.

Sarcevic was ludicrously booked for what looked a foul by MacDonald shortly before the break and could even have seen red shortly afterwards when he took a dreadful dive looking to win Town a penalty.

Howe almost gave Burton the lead 19 seconds into the second half when he fired at goal from the edge of the box, but Davies got down and touched his drive onto the outside of a post and away for a corner.

Just after the hour it was Fleetwood’s turn to hit the woodwork. Gareth Evans got into space 30 yards out and blasted one which beat Lyness but came out off the inside of his left post.

Then, with eight minutes left, the Cod Army thought they had it.

Junior Brown’s corner from the right found the unmarked Hughes, who nodded past Lyness from close range.

It was a poor goal to concede but the Brewers refused to give up.

With Ian Sharps moving up front to give some height, Albion went for Fleetwood.

Sharps, who had fought well at the back against Parkin, had a volley from 18 yards blocked before Kee went and salvaged a draw.

Lee Bell pinged a high ball into the area and Kee chested it down and turned Roberts before somehow squeezing the ball between Davies and his near post to put Burton’s name in the hat for the third round.

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