Coventry City made the journey to the Pirelli Stadium still in search of their first away win of the season in high spirits following Callum O’Hare’s last-gasp winner at St. Andrews in an early season top of the table clash against Blackpool.
Mark Robins made one change to that squad with Dom Hyam coming in for Michael Rose due to an injury picked up in last weekend’s victory.
The game began with a high tempo as both teams looked for an early chance to take gain momentum.
City began stroking the ball about, as they have done so far this season, looking to play out from the back and carve out a chance down the flanks.
Sam McCallum was seeing a lot of the ball, and nearly set Matt Godden free inside five minutes with an uncharacteristic long ball. Godden peeled off Richard Nartey, but the defender managed to bring the ball down and relieve any pressure.
Just after the ten-minute mark, Liam Walsh unleashed a 25-yard attempt to register City’s first shot on target - a dipping volley that bounced just in front of Kieran O’Hara. The Brewers ‘keeper pounced on the ball at the second attempt.
The game fell flat for the following ten minutes before exploding back into life with two quickfire chances – one for either side.
First, following some neat build-up play down the left, the ball bounced towards Zain Westbrooke who unleashed a first-time 20-yard volley against O’Hara’s left post.
The effort flew past O’Hara diving to his left, rattled the inside of the post and bounced out. Jordy Hiwula couldn’t then bring the rebound under control and Albion hacked the ball away.
Minutes later, the home side spurned a great opportunity to take the lead as Albion captain John Brayford delivered a low cross across the box to Liam Boyce who was unmarked. Though the striker could not turn it goalward and City escaped unharmed.
As the half began to draw to a close, Albion were growing into the game with Lucas Akins at the heart of everything the home side were producing.
He picked the ball up on the half-way line and drove at the Sky Blue defence, skipping past two defenders. He fired a low ball across the box towards the front post into Scott Fraser, but the midfielder could not get the ball under control and ran the ball out of play.
Akins then was found in yards of space on the edge of the City box, but with defenders closing in, opted to play the ball out wide to the on-rushing Brayford who took a touch and smashed his effort into the side netting at Marko Marosi’s front post.
HALF-TIME: Burton Albion 0 – 0 Sky Blues
It was a quick start to the second half, similar to the first, and it was who Albion carved out the first chance.
Akins received a ball on the left-hand side of the box, let the ball run across his body and struck goalward with the angle increasing. He guided his shot across Marosi who got down well and pushed the effort away for a corner – the subsequent set-piece amounted to nothing.
The Brewers then spurned another great chance to take the lead as they won the ball on the half-way line and played it down the left. Oliver Sarkic delivered a deep cross to the back post where Akins was rushing in, but the striker skewed his side-footed volley wide of Marosi’s goal.
The Sky Blues then answered with a dangerous attack of their own as Westbrooke floated a lovely ball over the top of the Brewers defence to Wesley Jobello on the right, who then lifted a cross to the back post to Hiwula who knocked it down but only to see the ball hacked away.
Just past the hour, Robins looked to his bench to change the game with the double substitution of Gervane Kastaneer and Callum O’Hare replacing Zain Westbrooke and Wesley Jobello.
Albion once again carved out another opportunity, this time it was Scott Fraser who found himself bearing down on goal, albeit at an acute angle.
The midfielder latched on to a through ball and got his shot off but Dom Hyam got across superbly and blocked his shot and cleared the danger.
The Sky Blues then looked to break on a counter-attack lead by Callum O’Hare. The midfielder played a one-two with Matt Godden 30-yards from goal, then laid the ball off to Jordan Shipley who shot first time from the edge of the box, but O’Hara saved comfortably.
Hiwula then tested the Albion ‘keeper from outside of the area with an effort that stung his palms as he guided the ball away for a corner. The corner amounted to nothing, but the Sky Blues were building pressure.
The next effort came from a smart bit of play from O’Hare as he dropped his shoulder on a defender and played the ball into Godden’s feet 16-yards out.
The striker turned out with one touch and fired a left-footed shot high and wide of O’Hara’s goal.
Albion then found themselves with a golden opportunity to take the lead as a foul from Kyle McFadzean gifted the Brewers with a freekick 20-yards out.
Nathan Broadhead stepped up and curled the ball around the wall and struck the inside of the same post as Zain Westbrooke in the first half, with the same result.
The ball cannoned out off the post and was smashed away from danger.
With three minutes left to play, the Sky Blues were inches away from taking the lead as Kastaneer delivered a low cross towards the back post where Hiwula was sliding in. The ball just eluded the incoming winger and rolled away for a goal kick.
Minutes later, Richard Nartey fouled Callum O’Hare on the edge of the Brewers box and Liam Walsh stepped up to take the set-piece.
He lifted the ball up and over the Albion wall, but the effort lacked pace and O’Hara collected comfortably.
FULL-TIME: Burton Albion 0 - 0 Sky Blues
Yellows: Walsh, O’Toole, McFadzean, Nartey
Attendance: 4,409, 1,671 Travelling Sky Blues
Sky Blues XI: Marko Marosi (GK), Fankaty Dabo, Kyle McFadzean (C), Dom Hyam, Sam McCallum, Liam Walsh, Jordan Shipley, Zain Westbrooke (Callum O’Hare, 62), Wesley Jobello (Gervane Kastaneer, 62), Jordy Hiwula, Matty Godden.
Unused subs: Ben Wilson (GK), Tennai Watson, Morgan Williams, Josh Eccles, Max Biamou.
Burton Albion XI: Keiran O’Hara (GK), John Brayford ©, Ryan Edwards, Kieran Wallace, Stephen Quinn, Scott Fraser (David Templeton, 84), Lucas Akins, Oliver Sarkic (Nathan Broadhead, 70), Richard Nartey, John-Joe O’Toole, Liam Boyce (Joe Sbarra, 78)
Unused Subs: Jack Livesey (GK), Colin Daniel, Jake Buxton, Reece Hutchinson.