One word sums up Rovers’ performance in the first twenty-five minutes of this game – awful.
Burton Albion started the match with intent and purpose, whereas Rovers looked like eleven men who’d never met before. Albion kept Rovers penned in their own half, hardly giving the hosts an opportunity to get forward. It took only eight minutes for Albion’s dominance to result in the first goal; John Brayford’s optimistic overhead kick looping into the top corner.
Rovers were awarded a penalty on fifteen minutes but the decision was overturned after the referee consulted with his assistants. As the half went on, the home side did play their way into the game, managing to slow Burton’s relentless pressing and attacking play and keeping possession of the ball. John Marquis had a chance just before the break but his shot was blocked. Still, Rovers went in at half time the better side.
The second half started with Grant McCann making two substitutions – Alfie May and Tyler Smith replacing Mallik Wilks and Tommy Rowe. It was a move that proved decisive, and it didn’t take long for Smith, on loan from Sheffield United, to make an impact when on 53 minutes he headed in May’s cross for the equaliser. Marquis and Coppinger had chances to make it 2-1 but it was Smith again who gave Rovers the lead in the 76th minute with a calm, confident finish. However, a late equaliser, Brayford scoring again from a corner, meant the points were shared.