Burton Albion’s reaction to FA Cup exits – how have they fared in recent seasons?

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Burton Albion’s early exit from the FA Cup means the final four months of their season will be spent focusing on one thing – Championship survival.

Achieving that goal once again, despite all the odds and pre-season predictions being against them, has always been the primary aim for the Brewers.

They will be hopeful of taking a further step towards that goal when they return to Championship action at home to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

Stephen Bywater is fouled as he jumps to claim a Birmingham corner

So how have the Brewers bounced back after FA Cup defeats over recent years?

We take a look at how they fared after their last four exits from the competition.

2016-17

Jerome Sinclair powers home Watford’s second in the FA Cup win over Burton Albion

Albion’s first-ever automatic third-round berth saw them drawn away at Premier League Watford.

A goal in each half gave the Hornets a comfortable victory to end the Brewers’ cup hopes inside 90 minutes, with Nigel Clough’s side rarely troubling the home goal.

That theme would continue for a little while after this game.

Burton’s next two games back in the league saw them draw blanks and suffer a potentially costly defeat at home to relegation rivals Wigan Athletic (2-0) before they were undone by Rhys Healey’s 92nd-minute winner at Cardiff City.

That result saw Albion drop into the bottom three for the first time in the season.

Fortunately, a return to London on January 28 brought a crucial 2-1 win at Queens Park Rangers – and they did not look back from there, securing their safety with a game to spare.

2015-16

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was not impressed with Burton's performance in the FA Cup loss to Peterborough
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was not impressed with Burton’s performance in the FA Cup loss to Peterborough

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s Brewers sat inside League One’s automatic promotion spots when they hosted third-tier rivals Peterborough United in the FA Cup first round in November 2015.

The form that had got Albion to that position was not on show in this clash, though.

Hasselbaink was left to label his side ‘fragile and naive’ as they went down 3-0, with Conor Washington – who the then-Burton boss would sign at QPR later in the season – scoring twice for the Posh.

There was no immediate reaction to that defeat next time out, when a Jerome Binnom-Williams own goal did for them away at Bury.

But this Brewers team was made of stern stuff.

They followed those back-to-back defeats with wins over Wigan Athletic, Colchester United and Millwall in Hasselbaink’s final three matches in charge.

That run left them top of the League One tree as Nigel Clough returned for a second stint in charge at the Pirelli in December 2015.

2014-15

Alex MacDonald scored in Burton Albion’s 3-1 win at Wycombe Wanderers in November 2014

Sam Winnall’s hat-trick laid the foundations for Barnsley’s emphatic 5-0 triumph over the Brewers in the first round of the 2014-15 competition.

Albion were without a manager at the time following Gary Rowett’s departure to join Birmingham City.

But five days after their FA Cup exit, Burton confirmed the appointment of Hasselbaink as their new boss.

His first game in charge was an impressive 3-1 win at promotion rivals Wycombe Wanderers, with Phil Edwards, Alex MacDonald and Jacob Blyth getting the goals.

That preceded a 1-0 home victory over then-table-topping Luton Town – Edwards again on target – and the Brewers would lose only three times again all season on their way to the League Two title.

2013-14

Jimmy Phillips in action for Burton Albion
Jimmy Phillips in action for Burton Albion

The last time Albion won a game in the FA Cup was in 2013, when home victories over Hereford United and Fleetwood Town saw them earn a third-round tie with Bournemouth, then of the Championship.

An eye-opening fourth-round clash with Liverpool was on the cards for the winners – and in the end it proved to be the Cherries.

Jimmy Phillips’ goal was a consolation in the 4-1 loss for Rowett’s Burton.

Four days later, the Brewers were held to a goalless draw at Bury that prevented them from moving to the summit of League Two.

Indeed, they would win only one of the seven league games that followed that FA Cup defeat, a run that all but ended their automatic promotion hopes.

Instead, they reached the play-off final, where an agonising 1-0 loss to Fleetwood saw them denied a first ever shot at the third tier.



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