GARY Rowett believes Burton Albion have offered further proof they can live with the best in League Two despite a narrow defeat at the hands of promotion rivals Cheltenham Town.
The Brewers looked to be on their way to a hard-earned point until Chris Zebroski scrambled an 85th minute winner for the Robins at the Abbey Business Stadium on Saturday.
Rowett said: “It was an excellent away performance, but we couldn’t quite see it out.”
The 1-0 defeat was only Albion’s second in a run of 13 league games — and the other was against table-toppers Gillingham.
The Brewers boss said: “(Cheltenham manager) Mark Yates has got a very good side here and I felt as though we more than matched them.
“They are the second or third best team in the division at the moment, and there was not much in it.
“I think we again showed we have absolutely nothing to fear because on our day we’re more than a match for anyone.
“I don’t know whether or not you could say we’ve been robbed as such, but I think the point is that in terms of an away performance against a top side in this division I thought we did brilliant.
“I’ve said to the players that I’m really, really proud of a performance that showed an awful lot about us as a team.
“We weathered a lot of set-pieces and you possibly felt that was going to be their only way of getting the goal because we did so well to restrict them in open play.”
The Robins had looked dangerous from set-pieces throughout the game and finally made one count just when it seemed the Brewers would return home with a point.
Rowett said: “Fair play to them, they kept going and they ended up getting a goal from what was probably the most fortunate set piece they had.
“It ended up ricocheting about, Ox (Mark Oxley) got a hand on the ball and tried to land on it and it ended up being a bad goal to concede.
“After that, we had one or two half opportunities that I felt we might have made a bit more of with a bit more composure.
“But again, it was an excellent, excellent away performance.
“You could say we’ve been slightly fortunate occasionally when we’ve won games.
“You think back to the last minute against Southend when we really didn’t deserve it and you could argue that we were a big fortunate to come away with the points from Plymouth.
“Sometimes you have to take it on the chin when your opponents have that little bit of luck on their side.
“What we can’t do is to let that deter in any way, shape or form from what we’ve achieved so far and from we potentially could achieve in the next few games.
“It’s really important that we focus on what we’ve done today, take the positives out of it and have a look at one or two things we could have done better.
“We got into some good areas and you could argue we had as many chances as them, if not more, in open play.”
Rowett praised the efforts of Nathan Stanton after asking the defender to play out of position in place of suspended left-back Damien McCrory.
“Stanno did brilliantly,” said Rowett. “He’s been excellent since he came back in the side and I asked him to do me a favour today and go and do a job out on the left.
“I thought he did that like the true professional he is – he was amazing.”