Burton burn brightly through darkness and beat Bournemouth
Burton’s Carabao Cup flame is again burning bright as the Brewers overcame Premier League Bournemouth 2-0 and a trio of floodlight failures at their Pirelli Stadium to book their place in the last 16.
Albion, who reached last season’s semi-finals only to lose 10-0 on aggregate to Manchester City after a 9-0 mauling in the first leg at the Etihad Stadium, stunned the Cherries with goals from Oliver Sarkic and Nathan Broadhead.
It was another sensational upset from Nigel Clough’s Sky Bet League One side, although at one stage it appeared as if the game was going to be abandoned and the Cherries would have to make the 380-mile round trip at a later date.
Leading 1-0 from Sarkic’s 14th-minute strike, the lights went out for the first time eight minutes into the second half due to what was announced over the public address system as a power surge.
Following a nine-minute delay, play restarted but only for 90 seconds before the second failure. After a further eight-minute hiatus, referee John Busby indicated to the benches that a third cut would lead to him abandoning the match.
When that arrived five minutes later, his blast on the whistle indicated as if he had called the game off.
But discussions followed on the touchline between the match officials and the managers of both clubs in Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe and Albion’s Clough.
Many fans among the 2,505 in the crowd had already left when Busby opted to restart the game again.
When fourth official James Bell held up his board at the end of the official 90 minutes to indicate 28 minutes of added time it drew laughs and smiles from supporters from both sides.
It was Burton who had the last laugh, though. In the eighth of those added minutes Sarkic, a free transfer signing from Leeds in the summer, teed up Broadhead to slide home what proved to be the game-killing second goal.
Not for the first time a top-flight side paid the penalty for fielding a weakened side as Howe made 10 changes to the team who had beaten south-coast rivals Southampton 3-1 at St Mary’s on Friday night, with only Dominic Solanke retaining his place.
Despite the much-changed line-up, in which Lloyd Kelly made his debut following a £13million move from Bristol City and Simon Francis returned from a nine-month lay-off after recovering from an ACL injury, the Cherries were comfortable in the opening exchanges.
The game, however, turned in the 14th minute, when an unmarked Sarkic volleyed home on the edge of the six-yard box a far-post cross from Reece Hutchinson.
It was Burton who continued to create the better chances, with their second goal – after all the drama of the floodlight failures – richly deserved against a Bournemouth side whose best chance came in the 30th minute of added time when Jack Simpson hit a post with a header.