True Britt - Boro Late Late Saviour
By Rob Nichols
Tuesday 03 Apr 2018 16:58:00
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Boro's play off hopes almost went for a Burton yesterday until that Britt Assombalonga injury time equaliser gave us a glimmer of hope. The home team were deservedly in front after making most of the early running. They defended defiantly in the second period and Boro appeared to run out of ideas and time before Harrison hit the bar and Britt finished from under it.

Lets face it without Traore we would have been knocked out of the running this Easter. Almost inevitably it was one more run forward from the winger that had Burton back peddling deep into injury time. Without the foul count on Traore (and Friend) we would not have scored against Wolves on Good Friday. If we can now regroup just how vital will Bamford and Britt's goals be in the long run. And could that unlikely point at the Pirelli be a life and play-off saver?

There were appalling conditions to navigate travelling down to the East Midlands. I think most of the North Atlantic spilled onto the A1 and M1 yesterday. I arrived only just in time to see the giant beam engines under steam at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station. It is just along the road from Burton Albion and the Boro buses were parked up in the car park. And there were a lot of them.

For two league matches in a row we have been able to stand on a terrace behind a goal. At the Pirelli it was packed so full that they had to walk people around the front and look for gaps. It was like a flash back to the Chicken Run at Ayresome Park maybe 30 or 40 years ago.

Boro needed to start well to wipe away bad memories of our bad Good Friday when we couldn't out wit and break down nine man Wolves. Unfortunately it was the home team, bottom of the league that came out of the traps faster. Oh apart from Traore he had one trademark run forward, dancing through their midfield before Burton struck. Cranie didn't get close enough to their winger Lloyd Dyer and failed to block the cross which was smartly converted by Sordell. What a shocker.

Burton continued to look the more composed and posed far more of a threat throughout the first half. We were rocking and almost rolling over at the club propping up the league. And not surprisingly it was not going down at all well on the terrace.

Pulis made a substitution after only 37 minutes, Jonny Howson was sacrificed as we went 4:4:2 with Britt going up front alongside Bamford. Burton were totally bypassing midfield and on such a small, tight pitch we also were about to try and counter by going direct ourselves.

Yet even after the change we once again struggled to create and break down a well organised defence. Even with two men upfront Britt was faltering with his touch or to latch onto Bamford's flicks. Bamford was unable to fashion any opportunities apart from a single optimistic shot from way outside the box.

With Stewart Downing looking fatigued and Grant Leadbitter hit and miss it was left to Traore to fashion some resistance. Once again he was pounded by challenges and on a pudding pitch he was also finding it hard to make headway on his own.

Their keeper Stephen Bywater almost gave us a break when he made a serious error of judgement. The veteran stopper slid well out of his box to catch the ball. He was given a yellow card but on another day and maybe in other conditions he might easily have seen red..

But inevitably it was Traore that created the late openings to give us a spark of hope. He ploughed his way forward and teed up Assombalonga in front of goal. The forward seemed to have squandered the chance as he took a long time to round defenders but then he latched onto the target, fired but fired wildly high. Boro fans held their heads in their hands. We thought our chance had come and gone.

But deep into the 4 minutes added on Traore gathered himself one last time. The speedy winger ripped through Burton again and cut across to open up the defence. Substitute Jack Harrison had the presence of mind to chip Bywater but the ball smacked against the cross bar. Assombalonga showed why he is a predator striker, being in exactly the right spot to head home from under the frame of the goal. 1-1. Phew.

When news of all the other results came in that draw was no longer such a calamity after all. Provided we see off the challenge of Aitor's Forest on Saturday it could even turn into a precious point.

No one is trying to pretend Easter has been anything other than bad for Tony Pulis Boro. But imagine if that first Britt goal of the year can now see him start scoring regularly again. That could make all the difference in the world to our run in. Maybe I am clutching at straws but we might easily have been well out of the running. Now we have to build on that luck and endeavour and run with it.

Burton Albion 1-1 Boro - Britt

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