Garbutt strike enough to take the points on opening day
Garbutt’s early goal gives Town a winning start at Burton Albion.
Town’s League One campaign got off to a winning start thanks to Luke Garbutt’s debut goal.
The Everton loanee struck early on with a heavily deflected strike, with Danny Rowe and James Norwood going close to adding to the advantage as Town threatened regularly on the break in the first-half.
It needed a last minute goalline clearance from Luke Woolfenden to see Town home though as Blues held on for the three points against a Burton side who finished with 10 men after Stephen Quinn’s red card.
Blues were backed by a full house in the away stand as Paul Lambert gave debuts to four new arrivals, Tomas Holy, James Wilson, Garbutt and Norwood.
Norwood immediately found space after Rowe led a break for Blues, John-Joe O’Toole clearing, Garbutt’s delivery from the corner causing alarm in the Burton box before Jake Buxton cleared.
Holy was quickly off his line to smother the danger as Lucas Akins looked to get in but it was Blues who struck, Garbutt’s left footer following a flowing move taking a big deflection to wrong-foot Kieran O’Hara just past the 10 minute mark.
Woolfenden covered well as John Brayford tried to find Ryan Edwards in the box, then Town countered at pace, Norwood the architect to find Rowe on the right and O’Hara was at full stretch to palm away his curler.
Quinn was yellow carded after he clipped Norwood, the summer arrival from Tranmere almost in from Garbutt’s delivery seconds later, Burton responding with Akins hooking the ball wide from the edge of the box.
Rowe forced O’Hara into another save after a superb crossfield pass from Cole Skuse, Holy pushed Brayford’s cross away at the near post, then Buxton failed to make contact inside the box with Holy off the line.
Woolfenden cleared from Liam Boyce as Burton finished the half pressing for an equaliser but Town continued to carry a threat and Kayden Jackson was denied by Buxton’s outstretched foot as the striker looked to get on the end of Myles Kenlock’s cross.
Akins had a great chance to level the scores as the second-half got underway but he blazed over from 12 yards, Boyce firing wide, while at the other end Buxton denied Jackson at the second attempt as the Blue’s pace looked to take him clear on goal.
Akins diverted Scott Fraser’s cross wide, Woolfenden holding firm as Boyce threatened inside the Town box, then Garbutt set up Norwood in space but his radar was off.
Alan Judge replaced Jackson just past the hour in Town’s first change, Nathan Broadhead on for Burton with Kieran Wallace making way as both teams shuffled their packs.
Garbutt had another shot deflected wide after good work by Rowe, Holy showing his awareness off the line to thwart Broadhead, then Garbutt overhitting his cross after Flynn Downes had set him free down the left.
Quinn’s second yellow resulted in red, with the injured Wilson replaced by Emyr Huws for the closing stages, then Judge’s free-kick was kept out by O’Hara.
Holy had an anxious glance when his clearance hit Boyce and drifted just wide off the post, prompting the bizarre situation of frustrated Town coach Matt Gill then seeing red after catching the lid of a cool box too sweetly for referee Ross Joyce’s liking as it fizzed onto the pitch.
Woolfenden had the final significant touch in the closing stages, diverting the ball off the line as Burton threatened to grab a point with virtually the last kick.
Burton: O’Hara, Brayford, Daniel (Hutchinson 88), Edwards, Buxton, Wallace (Broadhead 66), Quinn, Fraser, Akins (Sarkic 81), O’Toole, Boyce. Subs not used: Bywater, Sbarra, Hutchinson, Nartey, Anderson. Sent-off: Quinn. Booked: Quinn, Edwards, Fraser.
Town: Holy, Donacien, Woolfenden, Wilson (Huws 78), Kenlock, Rowe (El Mizouni 90), Downes, Skuse, Garbutt, Jackson (Judge 62), Norwood. Subs not used: Norris, Roberts, Dobra, Clements. Booked: Norwood, Downes, Judge.