Burton Albion 1-0 Sunderland: Superb Smith strike maintains the Brewers' 100% record.
Photo by James Williamson via Getty Images.

Burton Albion beat Sunderland 1-0 courtesy of a Jonny Smith second half winner. The 24-year-old nearly took the roof of the net off with his thunderbolt of a strike.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's side have three wins from three in League One to keep their 100% record in tact. 

They faced a late scare at the end, Joe Flanagan had the ball in the back of the net in virtually the last kick of the game but the linesman's flag went straight up. 

  • Story of the game

First half 

As the Pirelli Stadium was bouncing with both fans singing loud and proud, there was a nervy feel around the place.

Either side had a corner in the first ten minutes after some good defending, both sides connected with deliveries but couldn't direct anything on target. 

The first real chance of the game fell to the visitors, Aiden McGeady was bearing down on goal, one on one with Ben Garratt, looking likely to score with his experience, however the Black Cats' captain tried to chip the Burton 'keeper, failing miserably. A huge let off for Lucas Akins who lost the ball in the middle of the field. 

Just a few minutes later, Sunderland were knocking on the door again, Lyndon Gooch couldn't find the back of the net at the back post after some good work from Ross Stewart. 

Omari Patrick gave Burton their first proper chance of the first half with some fine footwork in the box, and his shot needed blocking by a red and white shirt to force a corner. Patrick spun the ball mid-air before unleashing a left footed effort.

Once again the visitors applied some pressure, Gooch was involved once more, this time his fizzing effort was saved easily by Garratt. It was goalless after half an hour.

Sunderland nearly took the lead on the 40th minute as Stewart hit the post. Could have ands maybe should have been 1-0 as Garratt scrambled across to the left hand side of his box to the retrieve the ball.

The game was level at half time with no goals - it was a very entertaining match up to this point. 

Second half

Sunderland started the second half in fine fashion, two chances fell to red and white shirts in quick succession, however they couldn't find the back of the net. 

The hosts needed some lifting after a non-stop opening to the second half, Akins had a shot blocked after a slick counter attacking move.

Burton had another chance in the box, a great delivery from Powell as always and he found Ryan Leak who couldn't keep his header down. Head in his hands as he went back up the other end. 

End to end stuff in Staffordshire, it had been one of the most entertaining 60 minutes without a goal being scored. This time Garratt makes another stop after Carl Winchester's powerful shot from distance.

The first goal of the game finally came after after 66 minutes, Jonny Smith smashed the ball into the top left corner. It's all he deserves after a terrific game. The game was close but the breakthrough finally came. Roof came off when the ball hit the back of the net. 

The home side could have been two up! Akins had been involved all game long and 'Mr Burton Albion' nearly rewarded his energetic performance by doubling his sides lead.

Brilliant spectacle all night long, there was close chances for either side within the space of a minute or so late on. First Nathan Broadhead for the away side forced a fine stop from Garratt. Seconds later Smith was up the other end smashing the bar.

  • Key takeaways 

Garratt's importance

Tonight proved once again how important the Burton goalkeeper is to the side. He provided more magic in the first half following his man of the match performance against Ipswich Town last weekend.

He kept Gooch out a couple of times in the opening 45 to keep the score at 0-0. 

The 27-year-old had the ball canon off of him in the second half after Winchester's shot was well struck from outside the box. 

Late on in the 79th minute, Garratt stopped a staggering shot from Broadhead to keep his sheet clean. Excellent. 

Burton flying

Hasellbaink really has got this side clicking and they've done ever so well to make it three from three in the league. Unbeaten and it shouldn't have been any other way in the end. The Brewers were excellent once again. 

No better man on the night to find the goal either after Smith's rocket erupted the ground.

Burton stay joint top with Portsmouth. They face Cambridge United away this weekend.

  • Man of the match - Jonny Smith

It could have gone to any yellow shirt on the night. The defence was incredible, including Garratt of course. Smith's goal was enough to take home the three points and the man of the match. 

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