Northwich Victoria 0 Burton Albion 2

First published in Match reports Northwich Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Writer

VICS hit rock bottom - literally - after a beating by Burton.

The Brewers piled on the agony for Neil Redfearn's men, inflicting their fifth successive defeat to leave them anchored to the foot of the table.

And the impressive visitors were full value for a victory.

That Burton's observers on the press bench rated it as their best performance of the season so far will be of little consolation to a disconsolate Danebank, who vented their frustration at Vics' beleaguered boss at the final whistle.

Those in green shirts never looked likely to trouble the goals for' column. In contrast, Keith Gilroy's sizzling second goal after the break was the 15th to pierce a porous rearguard in seven matches.

A bright opening quarter, when Northwich could have hit the front, felt light years away come full time.

Ryan Brown almost bagged a goal on three minutes.

Simon Rusk sent debutant Michael Coulson chasing a lost cause down the right touchline, but the youngster muscled past John Brayford's weak challenge to square for Brown, whose left foot drive was tipped over by Kevin Poole.

Paul Tait came closer still 10 minutes later, shifting past Mark Greaves to fire over following fine work by Brown and Mark Birch.

That was as good as it got.

Nigel Clough's men moved smoothly through the gears to find cruise control by the break.

Gilroy centred for Jake Edwards' header on the quarter hour only for Ben Connett to save superbly low to his left.

The Brewers then gave a sign of things to come.

Aaron Webster thundered a header home from another Gilroy assist only for it to be ruled out for pushing. Within five minutes he repeated the trick from John McGrath's corner to give his side the lead.

Burton spurned chances to extend their lead before the break.

Connett parried Danny Holmes' speculative snapshot and Birch was alert to halt Shaun Harrad's goalbound shot, before Edwards wasted the clearest sight of goal of the lot.

He spooned a shot off target on the edge of the box after Harrad and Brayford had joined forces to pick holes in their opponent's overworked defence.

Burton's fluidity faded after the break but rarely did their threat to score a second. It was worth the wait.

Holmes fed Gilroy from a throw-in and he spun into space on the corner of the box before scorching a left foot shot into the far top corner. It was a fitting contribution from the game's outstanding performer.

Redfearn, joined on the bench for the first time by former Bradford Park Avenue boss Phil Sharpe, switched to 3-5-2 by the time he used all his substitutes but Vics were still soporific in attack.

Edwards exploded a drive towards goal that Connett saved well, before Coulson danced past Brayford at the other end only for sub Brad Maylett to scuff his assist well wide much to the delight of the black and yellow-clad travelling brigade.

Vics' most cohesive counter almost brought a goal 15 minutes from time.

Richard Battersby, Coulson and Rusk before the latter's centre was battered towards goal by Coulson only for Brayford to react brilliantly with a heroic tackle.

Burton sub Marc Goodfellow then squirted a cross shot past Connett that forced Josh Wilson to clear off the line, but by then Vics' number had been up for some time.


STAR MAN: 25-Michael Coulson - Busy, determined and good movement off the ball. Was unlucky to see Kevin Poole thwart his best effort and John Brayford brilliantly block another. But after racking up three strike partners on his debut probably realises he's in for a hard month.

VICS (4-4-2): 1-Connett (GK), 15-Battersby, 6-Birch, 5-Strong, 3-Sharp (22-Wilson 65), 7-Byrne (16-Townson 58), 2-Rusk, 8-Carr, 14-Brown, 19-Tait (17-Maylett 46), 25-Coulson
Subs not used: 12-Murphy (GK), 4-Welch
Booked: 3-Sharp, 2-Rusk (both fouls)

BURTON (4-4-2): 1-Poole (GK), 12-Holmes, 4-Greaves (15-Austin 62), 17-Brayford, 3-Webster, 22-Aiston (8-Goodfellow 73), 21-Gooding, 6-McGrath, 11-Gilroy, 14-Harrad, 9-Edwards (19-Hall 87)
Subs not used: 13-Taylor (GK), 20-Clough
Goals: 3-Webster 24, 11-Gilroy 64

Attendance: 845

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