Nigel Clough believes Lucas Akins' reaction to missing an early penalty was symbolic of Burton Albion's quality in victory at Sheffield Wednesday on New Year's Day.

Akins saw his seventh-minute spot-kick saved by Joe Wildsmith as Albion were unable to capitalise on a high-intensity start at Hillsborough.

But that missed opportunity could not prevent them from recording their biggest Championship victory, with Tom Flanagan, Lloyd Dyer and Tom Naylor finding the net to clinch the Brewers' first three-goal triumph since the 3-0 win at Colchester United in League One in April 2016 - a game in which Akins bagged a hat-trick.

The Brewers' lone forward played a key role against the Owls, providing a constant outlet for his side and laying on assists for the second and third goals.

Lucas Akins (left) is in to celebrate Tom Naylor's goal in the 3-0 win
Lucas Akins (left) is in to celebrate Tom Naylor's goal in the 3-0 win

And in Clough's eyes, the performance of his striker summed up everything that was good about Burton in their third successive away win.

"I thought it was epitomised by the penalty taker," said Clough when asked about the character of his side to bounce back from that early miss.

"Because when you miss a penalty that early in a game, you are thinking, 'it could've put us 1-0 up' and whatever.

"He didn't let it affect him at all, and he was magnificent up front today, Lucas.

"He put himself around and I thought, especially in the first half, he caused the centre-halves tremendous problems - and his pass for the second goal was brilliant.

"It comes from him, the individual.

Lucas Akins on his way to setting up Tom Naylor's late goal in the win at Sheffield Wednesday

"When you do miss that penalty and everyone else sees him, they don't want his mistake to cost us the game.

"But I thought Will Miller getting it (the penalty) was good as well.

"If you can get a penalty early on in a game and you can get 1-0 up, sometimes it's enough to win you the game."

Albion's sixth win of the campaign was not enough to move them out of the bottom three ahead of this weekend's FA Cup games, with the Brewers below 21st-placed Hull City on goal difference.

But their tally of 24 points from 26 games is only one short of at the same stage last season - and Clough believes they are better placed in other ways than 12 months ago.

"We think, performance-wise and team and squad-wise, we are better off than we were this time last year," he added.

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Sheffield Wednesday 0-3 Burton Albion

"We probably don't need as many additions as we had a year ago, because we think we have a better squad to start with.

"We'll see who we can get in, but we have to keep it going.

"And that includes in the FA Cup next week as well."