Published: 12/11/2012 08:00

Returning Holness says Brewers defeat was cruel

Written byGlenn Brookes

MARCUS Holness described Burton Albion’s defeat at Cheltenham Town as cruel as the Brewers went down to the only goal of the game in the 85th minute at Whaddon Road on the central defender’s return from almost two months on the sidelines.

A game between two teams in the promotion mix looked to be heading for a goalless stalemate until Robins striker Chris Zebroski claimed the points with the scrappiest of winners.

The hosts’ main threat had come from the set-pieces of left-back Billy Jones all afternoon and it was no surprise that the only goal came from his corner.

Central defender Alan Bennett’s shot was blocked on the line and, for a split second, it looked as though Brewers keeper Mark Oxley would gather the loose ball.

However, he could not quite get it under control and as it dropped to the ground, Zebroski reacted the quickest to bundle it over the line at the far post.

Said Holness: “It was pretty cruel to concede so late on.

“The boys have put in a great performance for 84, 85 minutes, I thought it had nil-nil written all over it and then we’ve gone and conceded a goal off a set-piece.

“It was a bit scrappy, but that’s football isn’t it? We’ll just have to swallow it.”

Describing the goal from his point of view, the 23-year-old said: “It seemed to hit everybody’s knee, shin, elbow  it seemed to hit everything  but the keeper just couldn’t get hold of it.

“I think it took a deflection off Zander (Diamond) and he (Zebroski) managed to tap it in. He was alert, but we’ll move onto the next one and I think, what is it, two losses in maybe 15 or something like that, so you have to take a defeat once in a while, but we’ll push on next week.”

The first half saw the Brewers under somewhat of a bombardment from Jones set-pieces, but they escaped without too much alarm, though Bennett did smack a header against the crossbar from one free-kick on seven minutes.

The second half saw former Brewers midfielder Russell Penn denied by a good save from Oxley, either side of which Albion striker Calvin Zola saw efforts saved by Robins keeper Scott Brown.

The second half was a far more even affair as Chris Palmer saw a deflected effort pushed over the bar by Brown, while at the other end, winger Jermaine McGlashan saw a shot headed away by Lee Bell.

But just when it looked like the game would end goalless, Zebroski struck.

Said Holness, signed in the summer following his release by Rochdale: “I didn’t think they had many chances really  they had a lot of set-pieces but they did nothing from it, we kept clearing and going on the break, so it was quite disappointing to concede from a set-piece when we’d defended so well throughout the game.

“I thought it was a nailed-on draw throughout the game.

“There were chances at both ends, but half-chances.

“I would have been happy to take a draw here, but unfortunately we lost.

“I thought we defended as a team really well today. Like I said, it was just half-chances that they had, they had no real opportunities, so I would have been happy with a nil-nil.”

For Holness, it was his first taste of action since picking up a hamstring injury in the 3-1 home victory over York City on September 19.

He was brought back in the centre of defence with Nathan Stanton switching to left-back in place of the suspended Damien McCrory.

After the game, he said he feels good and is hoping to become a regular once again having played in all but three of Albion’s games prior to his injury.

He said: “I’m feeling good. I played a reserve game, I think it was about two weeks ago now. I’ve been training for a good three, four weeks, so I feel fit  I’m happy with my fitness really.

“It was frustrating to be out for so long, especially as I was on quite a good run in the team because you know you’re gonna have to work for your place again.

“I say luckily, but Damien McCrory got banned through bookings and I managed to get a spot in the team today, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep it over the next few weeks and cement my place again.”

He has had to watch Albion’s impressive progress this season from the sidelines in recent weeks and said: “I think the team’s got real good spirit, we stick together, we know what plan we’re working to, and we’ve been doing it and we’ve been getting success from it.

“It’s only a couple of losses in the last 15, so the way we’re going, I think we’re doing really well.”

The Brewers now turn their attention to Thursday night’s FA Cup first round replay at Altrincham, with Holness saying it is a case of going their and getting the job done having had to rely on Zola’s 93rd minute equaliser to earn a 3-3 draw at the Pirelli Stadium.

“I think this time it’s a case of going there and getting the job done,” Holness said.

“We weren’t really expecting them to be a really good passing team. It kind of took us a bit by surprise and we started a bit sloppy.

“I think we’ll go up there, play how we played today and really get at them.”

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