Burton Albion 2-0 Cardiff: Match Report
Trouble brewing for Cardiff as Jackson Irvine is on target again for Burton
Goals in each half from Jackson Irvine and Lucas Akins helped Burton to a 2-0 victory over Cardiff, their first win in six attempts, as the problems deepened for Paul Trollope's struggling side.
Irvine's fifth goal of the season in the 12th minute gave the Brewers a first-half lead with their first meaningful attack of the game. The Australian swept home a left-foot effort from just inside the area after good build-up play from the returning Chris O'Grady and Jamie Ward who nodded the ball intelligently into his path.
Akins notched his second goal in three games just four minutes into the second half, heading home from close range after Kyle McFadzean had headed Matty Palmer's free-kick into his path.
It was a relatively comfortable victory for Nigel Clough's side who had not tasted victory in the Sky Bet Championship since their momentous win over neighbours Derby at the end of August.
Three points for the Brewers lifted them five points clear of danger and just a second clean sheet of the season was a welcome relief for Albion who have made a habit of conceding soft goals lately.
Cardiff had chances in the first half with Burton's Jon McLaughlin the busier of the two goalkeepers. Stuart O'Keefe and Peter Whittingham were both denied from long-range efforts as the visitors tried to test out the goalkeeper in wet and tricky conditions at the Pirelli Stadium.
O'Keefe had already had the first shot in anger before Albion took the lead and Whittingham was proving a danger both from set-pieces and open play, a dangerous free-kick landing on the head of Rickie Lambert who was denied by the goalkeeper. A stinging long-range drive from O'Keefe was also beaten away as the visitors searched for an equaliser.
Whatever Trollope said at half time was undone by Akins' goal just after the restart but despite plenty of patient approach play the confidence seemed to have been knocked out of them and they struggled to fashion any clear-cut chances.
Lambert, returning from injury, was denied a goal at the far post by an excellent intervention from ex-Bluebirds defender Ben Turner as Cardiff looked to respond. Whittingham was guilty of missing the best chance, played in when an Akins back pass fell short, and with the goal at his mercy he failed to beat McLaughlin from the edge of the box.
Substitute Kenneth Zohore flashed a header wide of the near post from a corner late on but Cardiff were destined to finish the day rooted in the bottom three after another lacklustre showing.