BURTON Albion earned an FA Cup third round trip to Championship side Bournemouth last night with a 1-0 replay win over Fleetwood Town at the Pirelli Stadium.
Billy Kee, who bailed the Brewers out with a late leveller in the first tie, won it with another excellent strike in the first half to see off the Cod Army.
It was another tense affair between the sides following their 1-1 draw at Highbury Stadium two Saturdays ago.
Then, Kee grabbed Burton a replay with his late leveller.
Again there was little between Gary Rowett’s men and the visitors, who are rivals for promotion to League One this season.
But thanks to Kee, and another determined performance to keep a clean sheet, the Brewers earned £27,000 and a chance to again test themselves against second tier opposition.
It was a seventh 1-0 win of the season for Albion and a 10th clean sheet in what is shaping up to be a very successful campaign.
They never really looked in trouble against Fleetwood and there were very positive signs of a partnership being struck up between Kee and Rene Howe, who worked tirelessly to close players down, as well as helping out with his defensive duties.
Rowett named an unchanged side from Saturday’s slightly disappointing 1-1 home draw with York City.
Adam McGurk again missed out as he recovers from the nasty blow to the head he took in the original tie with Fleetwood.
The Cod Army were missing winger Matty Blair, who was arguably the most dangerous player on the pitch when the sides drew 10 days ago.
Neither Jon Parkin nor David Ball were fit enough to start, while Nathan Tyson and Daniel Carr were unavailable for the match.
It was a fairly even start, with neither side creating much of note in the opening 20 minutes.
Chris Hussey dragged a shot wide of the near post after six minutes, while Steven Schumacher blasted a shot from the corner of the box wide.
Kee then gave Albion the lead with another cracker, which made it four in his last four appearances.
Damien McCrory’s cross from the left was headed back by Hussey at the far post for Kee to turn on the edge of box and find the bottom corner with a lovely finish.
Jeff Hughes, who scored for Fleetwood in the original tie, hobbled after he came off worse having flown into a tackle with Lee Bell which earned Hughes a booking.
Howe had a chance just after the half-hour as he met Alex MacDonald’s cracking cross off the outside of his foot.
But the big striker got crowded out as he chased his own header.
Three minutes into the second half, Dean Lyness, who again had little to do, had to get down quickly and block a shot from Gareth Evans as he got onto a ball into the box from substitute Antoni Sarcevic.
Howe had a shot from the edge of the box deflected over by Mark Roberts on 51 minutes before MacDonald drove in a low free kick from a tight angle which Fleetwood keeper Scott Davies was quickly down to stop.
The game exploded into life just short of the hour when the dangerous Sarcevic went down under a challenge from Bell in box.
Referee Charles Brakespear immediately blew up for a dive from the Fleetwood man and Albion were incensed.
Phil Edwards picked up a yellow for an angry shove on Sarcevic in a 16-man melee. When tempers had calmed Sarcevic was also rightly booked.
The flash point seemed to stir Albion and on the hour Davies clawed away a header from Hussey after a clever cross dinked into the box by Howe.
Kee then turned and blasted a shot over after a cracking move from the Brewers which saw Edwards find Hussey down the right.
Fleetwood threw on Ball for the last 20 minutes to try and get a goal to stay in the cup, but in vain.
On 83 minutes, MacDonald drilled in another low free kick which Davies beat away with a save to his right.
Howe robbed a dawdling Schumacher on 88 minutes but drove just over as he looked to kill the tie.