Burton boss Jake Buxton was delighted as his managerial debut resulted in a 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory over fellow League One side Accrington after a 1-1 draw in normal time.
Lucas Akins, as he has done four times in his seven seasons at the club, netted on the opening day to get the Buxton era off to a good start with a fine curled finish but it was goalkeeper Ben Garratt who took the headlines, saving Accrington’s first two penalties from Joe Pritchard and Matt Butcher after Cameron Burgess’ late leveller took the first round tie to spot kicks.
“I am over the moon with the performance” Buxton said. “We asked the players to run around and get stuck in and to work hard for each other and they did that from minute one right until the end.
“Whenever it is only one-nil and you don’t take your chances, which we had quite a few of, although not clear cut, you have to finish teams off. Any opposition can put a ball in your box and pick up a second ball and score but our heads didn’t drop and we stuck at it”
Buxton also recognised the contribution of keeper Garratt who ultimately saw his side home in to round two.
“Ben’s attitude from day one of pre-season has been tremendous and he has took on board the work we are trying to do with the new regime. He is old enough to realise the hard work that is required. He was tremendous with his feet tonight and his hard work in training paid off with the penalty saves.” Buxton said.
Accrington boss John Coleman was left to rue the lottery of a penalty shoot-out as he watched his side miss early on to allow the Brewers to capitalise.
“We didn’t lose the game” he said, “but we lost the penalty competition which as we always say is a lottery.
“It’s disappointing as we practised penalties yesterday and the two lads who missed buried theirs in the opposite corners so I am not sure why they changed their minds.
“We looked a bit tentative in the first half and a little bit rusty but I thought they did too.
“There was only one shot on target in the first half and that was the goal. We upped the tempo a bit second half and were better and brighter but there weren’t many chances.
“We have scored a good goal from a great cross by Callum [Johnson] and then Toby [Savin] has made a good save right at the end.
“It was a war of attrition but I think Burton’s experience showed against what is a young team but having said that we still drew the game.”