Head coach Martin Paterson praised Burton’s character after a 2-1 victory against Stevenage moved his team three points clear of the League One relegation zone.

Mark Helm and Tom Hamer scored either side of the break while Stevenage were forced to play with 10 men for 30 minutes after Dan Butler lashed out at Helm.

Kane Hemmings scored with two minutes left but ultimately the Brewers managed to put an end to their 10-game winless run and gain a slight advantage over 21st-placed Port Vale with a valiant victory.

Paterson said: “I am so pleased with the group because of the effort. It took humility and hard work and when the chances came from the back of that framework the freedom came.

“We have got character and we have been pushing really hard for a performance like that. We have been through a bit of a dip and we always knew we had the character to get out of that.

“There have been so many opportunities and heartbreaks along this road in terms of games but most importantly now we have put a small marker down is the players recover and live right.

“As a group we have been working on a lot of things to promote things in terms of confidence and awareness of taking a little bit more time.

“But that is what happens when you are in there and you are fighting every week for status. I don’t necessarily care about the name on the back, it is about working as a collective and we have to be unified now.”

As much as it was a galvanising victory for Burton, for Stevenage they have now seen any chance of promotion almost slip from their grasp as they sit six points away from the play-off spots with two games left.

Manager Steve Evans said: “It has been an incredible effort and we have come up a bit short over the season but we will try to go to Oxford and be competitive.

“I think a lot of people would take fifth from bottom, where the likes of Burton are, but it has been an incredible amount of hard work.

“I can only applaud them, I can’t do that today because we lacked a lot. But I am not a manager to throw them in the river because there has been some really bright days.

“We are asking a lot of the players to play at the highest they have played and there hasn’t been a game since I have been here that has not had something resting on it, including today.

“We have gone to the well but found it a bit dry over the past few weeks.”

Tom Hamer scored the vital goal in a 2-1 victory against 10-man Stevenage to move Burton three points clear of relegation.

Mark Helm netted late in the first half and after Dan Butler was sent off, Hamer added a buffer to the score which proved crucial when Kane Hemmings struck two minutes from time.

The victory saw Albion open a three-point gap between them and 21st-placed Port Vale while Stevenage fell six points behind Oxford heading into the final two games.

Boro dominated the first-half possession but Helm scored with the game’s first shot on target when he diverted Sam Hughes’ flick-on past Craig MacGillivray just before half-time.

Helm was to cause more damage to Stevenage after the break when a tussle with Butler ended with the Boro defender lashing out and seeing red and Hamer made sure Burton took advantage of the extra man by lashing in Hughes’ pass.

Stevenage were much improved in the second half but couldn’t find a way past Max Crocombe until the 88th minute when Hemmings converted Jamie Reid’s cross.

Mark Harris’ double helped push Oxford back into the League One play-off places as they ruthlessly beat Burton 4-0 at the Pirelli Stadium.

A long throw from Tom Hamer into the Oxford box was cleared and, when Tolaji Bola misjudged his header on halfway, Harris was able to race away, round keeper Max Crocombe and slot home midway through the first half.

The Welsh striker continued to torment the Brewers defence, adding a second early in the second half by bundling the ball in from eight yards out.

Josh Murphy grabbed a well-deserved goal shortly afterwards, driving from his own half to score on the counter-attack.

And, as Albion’s defence capitulated, substitute James Henry added a fourth from inside the box, dispossessing Ryan Sweeney before firing into the bottom corner.

The margin of defeat pushed Albion into the bottom four on goal difference after Port Vale’s point at Wigan.

Relegation rivals Cheltenham and Burton played out an uninspiring 0-0 draw at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium.

Neither goalkeeper was seriously tested throughout and the result keeps Burton five points clear of their opponents and the League One drop zone, while the Robins are four points from safety.

Cheltenham enjoyed most of the possession during the first half, but they could not muster a shot on target.

Burton’s Ademola Ola-Adebomi saw an effort comfortably saved by Luke Southwood in the 13th minute, but defences were very much on top, with several important blocks in both boxes.

Cheltenham felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the 28th minute when George Lloyd went down under a challenge from Steve Seddon, but referee Thomas Parsons waved away their appeals.

Tom Hamer made an excellent challenge on the line to deny home striker Matty Taylor in the 32nd minute before Seddon fired high over the bar before the break.

Ola-Adebomi also saw an effort fly over in the 58th minute before Cheltenham threatened late on when Josh Harrop’s cross was met by Taylor, but it was blocked in the box.

Tom Bradbury cleared off the line from Albion substitute Joe Hugill in stoppage time as both teams had to settle for a point.

Burton beat Port Vale 3-2 to secure their first win of the season and prevent their opponents from moving to the summit of League One.

Watford loanee Kwadwo Baah scored what proved to be the decisive goal as the Brewers ended their wait for three points in their eighth league game of the campaign.

Burton took a surprise lead in the 11th minute, when an unmarked Beryly Lubala headed home at the back post from Tom Hamer’s cross to score his first goal for the club.

Lubala nodded over a good chance eight minutes later, but barring that it was all Vale through to half-time.

Ben Garrity threatened on a couple of occasions and James Wilson’s drilled shot struck a post just before the half-hour mark.

The home side’s pressure finally told in the 40th minute as Garrity headed in off the post from Conor Grant’s delivery.

Having hung on to go in level at the break, Burton found themselves in front again six minutes after the restart as Steve Seddon poked the ball in from close range from Hamer’s nod down.

It got even better just after the hour mark, with Baah, making his full debut, rifling a shot past Connor Ripley having broken free down the right.

Ollie Arblaster smashed the ball into the net in the 86th minute to halve the deficit, but Burton held on for a much-needed win.

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