Burton Albion will take a slender lead into the second leg of their play-off semi-final against Southend, despite playing for half an hour with 10 men.

Adam McGurk gave the Brewers the lead just before half-time, latching onto Billy Kee's pass and lifting the ball over advancing keeper Daniel Bentley.

However, the home side were reduced to 10 men on the hour mark when Ian Sharps was sent off for two bookable offences.

Burton stopper Dean Lyness made two late saves to keep out Southend.

The first half was an open affair with chances for both sides.

Second time around?

Burton were beaten at the semi-final stage last season, losing 5-4 on aggregate to Bradford, while Southend lost to Crewe 3-2 on aggregate at this stage two years ago.

Lee Bell flashed a shot over for the home side on 20 minutes, while Lyness had to be aware to stop Will Atkinson's snap half-volley 10 minutes later.

McGurk then turned and dribbled past several Southend defenders and sent a low right-footed shot towards the bottom corner, but Bentley dived low to his right to push the ball away.

But the Brewers went in ahead at the break as McGurk played a one-two with strike partner Kee and showed composure to clip the ball over Bentley.

The flow of the game was disrupted early in the second half, with a torrential downpour at the Pirelli Stadium making conditions difficult for both teams.

The dynamic of the game changed with half an hour remaining when defender Sharps was dismissed for two bookable offences within two minutes.

Ian Sharps (far left) is sent off by referee Oliver Langford

The dismissal of Sharps (far left) meant Burton were forced to play with 10 men for half an hour

First, the 33-year-old centre-back was cautioned for handball when the ball appeared to strike him on the chest, but he could have had few complaints about his second booking after he tripped Southend's Ryan Leonard as the midfielder was advancing on goal.

Brewers boss Gary Rowett sacrificed McKee to bring on David Gray to bolster his defence, leaving McGurk alone up front, and the Shrimpers began to dominate possession.

Despite the extra man, the Shrimpers initially found it difficult to create any clear-cut opportunities as Burton defended doggedly.

Southend need repeat win

Southend had suffered just one defeat in eight games going into Sunday's first leg.

The Shrimpers beat Burton 1-0 at Roots Hall on the final day of the regular season.

Southend did finally spark late on, with Kevan Hurst forcing Phil Edwards to head over his own crossbar.

Lyness then gathered Lee Barnard's tame header, but his best save came with four minutes remaining, pushing away John Egan's volley.

Southend had late claims for a penalty as Callum McFadzean slid in to tackle Egan on the edge of the area, but referee Oliver Langford waved them away.

Lyness was twice more called into action by Leonard in stoppage time, bravely claiming the midfielder's low cross and then collecting his downward header.

Southend lost at this stage of the play-offs two years ago and Phil Brown's side have work to do in Saturday's second leg at Roots Hall if they are to reach the Wembley final.

Burton manager Gary Rowett told BBC Radio Derby:

Rowett unhappy with Sharps dismissal

"I thought in many ways there was a lot of good things about the game.

"The goal was a fantastically worked goal, probably the first real bit of composure we showed. Early on, I think the occasion made us a bit nervous and a bit edgy.

"We've suffered a massive blow which we need to sort out and recover from in Ian Sharps getting sent off.

"I felt the second card was played for a little bit, but yes, ok, a yellow card. The first one has hit him on the top of the chest, so how you give a yellow card and send Sharpsey off for those two incidents?"

Southend United assistant manager Dave Penney told BBC Essex:

Southend lacked cutting edge - Penney

"We feel they got lucky with the goal, it's a ricochet and it drops into the kid's path. He's finished quite well, fair play to him.

"I think that's probably their only real chance. You look at the chances we had, certainly the goalkeeper made a good save from John Egan late on.

"I know they went down to 10 men for the last half an hour, but the possession we had, without really having that final cutting edge, it was missing today.

"It's never easy playing against 10 men. They sit back and they try and soak the pressure and hit you on the break."

Lineup, Bookings (6) & Substitutions (6)

Burton Albion

  • 16 Lyness
  • 02 Edwards
  • 03 Hussey
  • 08 Weir
  • 06 Sharps Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 21 Holness
  • 19 Ismail (Palmer - 45' )
  • 07 Bell
  • 29 Kee (Gray - 63' )
  • 20 McGurk (Knowles - 77' )
  • 15 McFadzean

Substitutes

  • 01 Lainton
  • 09 Alexander
  • 12 Hemmings
  • 18 Knowles
  • 23 Palmer
  • 26 Gray
  • 28 Symes

Southend United

  • 17 Bentley
  • 02 White Booked (Eastwood - 65' )
  • 03 Coker Booked
  • 08 Timlin
  • 35 Sokolik
  • 32 Egan
  • 12 Atkinson
  • 18 Leonard
  • 10 Corr Booked (Barnard - 73' )
  • 14 Hurst
  • 15 Murphy (Straker - 65' Booked )

Substitutes

  • 01 Smith
  • 04 Laird
  • 06 Prosser
  • 07 Eastwood
  • 11 Straker
  • 29 Gomis
  • 39 Barnard
Ref: Oliver Langford
Att: 4,581

Match Stats

Shots

9 18

On target

2 6

Corners

4 7

Fouls

10 19

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Burton Albion 1, Southend United 0.

90:00 +7:05 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Burton Albion 1, Southend United 0.

90:00 +6:37

Attempt saved. Ryan Leonard (Southend United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ben Coker with a cross.

90:00 +4:43

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

90:00 +4:00

Delay in match Dean Lyness (Burton Albion) because of an injury.

90:00 +2:22

Foul by Ryan Leonard (Southend United).

90:00 +2:22

Callum McFadzean (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

89:13

Attempt missed. Kevan Hurst (Southend United) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Will Atkinson with a headed pass.

88:05

Attempt blocked. Lee Barnard (Southend United) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kevan Hurst with a cross.

87:22

Corner, Southend United. Conceded by Callum McFadzean.

86:52

Corner, Southend United. Conceded by Callum McFadzean.

86:44

Attempt saved. John Egan (Southend United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Freddy Eastwood with a headed pass.

85:40

Attempt saved. Lee Barnard (Southend United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by John Egan with a headed pass.

85:05

Corner, Southend United. Conceded by Philip Edwards.

83:21

Corner, Burton Albion. Conceded by Will Atkinson.

80:00

Foul by Lee Barnard (Southend United).

80:00

Chris Hussey (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

76:41 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Burton Albion. Dominic Knowles replaces Adam McGurk because of an injury.

76:22

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

75:15

Delay in match Adam McGurk (Burton Albion) because of an injury.

74:42

Foul by Ryan Leonard (Southend United).

74:42

Matthew Palmer (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

73:23

Attempt blocked. Lee Barnard (Southend United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Michael Timlin with a cross.

72:44 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southend United. Lee Barnard replaces Barry Corr.

71:43

Corner, Burton Albion. Conceded by Will Atkinson.

70:23 Booking

Booking Barry Corr (Southend United) is shown the yellow card.

70:00

Foul by Barry Corr (Southend United).

70:00

Philip Edwards (Burton Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

69:03 Booking

Booking Anthony Straker (Southend United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

68:53

Foul by Anthony Straker (Southend United).

68:53

Matthew Palmer (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

66:57

Attempt missed. Jakub Sokolik (Southend United) right footed shot from long range on the right misses to the left.

66:51

Attempt missed. Kevan Hurst (Southend United) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

65:40

Attempt missed. Anthony Straker (Southend United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Freddy Eastwood.

64:22 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southend United. Freddy Eastwood replaces John White.

64:15 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southend United. Anthony Straker replaces Jacob Murphy.

63:53

Attempt missed. Ryan Leonard (Southend United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

62:16 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Burton Albion. David Gray replaces Billy Kee.

61:43

Foul by Jakub Sokolik (Southend United).

61:43

Callum McFadzean (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

60:24

Attempt blocked. Ryan Leonard (Southend United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kevan Hurst.

59:03 Dismissal

Dismissal Second yellow card to Ian Sharps (Burton Albion) for a bad foul.

58:54

Ryan Leonard (Southend United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

58:54

Foul by Ian Sharps (Burton Albion).

57:10

Attempt missed. Kevan Hurst (Southend United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

56:48 Booking

Booking Ian Sharps (Burton Albion) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

56:22

Hand ball by Ian Sharps (Burton Albion).

54:59

Corner, Southend United. Conceded by Marcus Holness.

52:59

Attempt blocked. Robbie Weir (Burton Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

52:20

Foul by Will Atkinson (Southend United).

52:20

Callum McFadzean (Burton Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

51:43

Foul by John Egan (Southend United).

51:43

Adam McGurk (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

49:40

Foul by Barry Corr (Southend United).

49:40

Marcus Holness (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

48:52

Foul by Barry Corr (Southend United).

48:52

Dean Lyness (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

48:40

Corner, Southend United. Conceded by Philip Edwards.

48:15

Corner, Southend United. Conceded by Marcus Holness.

47:07

Barry Corr (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:07

Foul by Ian Sharps (Burton Albion).

46:31

Foul by Jakub Sokolik (Southend United).

46:31

Adam McGurk (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:22

Corner, Southend United. Conceded by Chris Hussey.

45:00

Second Half begins Burton Albion 1, Southend United 0.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Burton Albion. Matthew Palmer replaces Zeli Ismail.

45:00 +3:03 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Burton Albion 1, Southend United 0.

45:00 +2:51

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

45:00 +2:26

Delay in match Robbie Weir (Burton Albion) because of an injury.

45:00 +1:52 Booking

Booking John White (Southend United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

45:00 +1:47

Foul by John White (Southend United).

45:00 +1:47

Robbie Weir (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

44:46 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Burton Albion 1, Southend United 0. Adam McGurk (Burton Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Billy Kee with a through ball.

43:11

Ryan Leonard (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:11

Foul by Callum McFadzean (Burton Albion).

41:41

Offside, Burton Albion. Dean Lyness tries a through ball, but Billy Kee is caught offside.

41:10

Attempt saved. Kevan Hurst (Southend United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Michael Timlin.

40:13

Attempt blocked. Robbie Weir (Burton Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Billy Kee.

39:16

Kevan Hurst (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

39:16

Foul by Callum McFadzean (Burton Albion).

38:10

Foul by John White (Southend United).

38:10

Callum McFadzean (Burton Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

37:55

Attempt saved. Adam McGurk (Burton Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Chris Hussey.

34:38

Ryan Leonard (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

34:38

Foul by Robbie Weir (Burton Albion).

33:44

Attempt missed. John Egan (Southend United) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ben Coker with a cross following a set piece situation.

33:06

Kevan Hurst (Southend United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

33:06

Foul by Philip Edwards (Burton Albion).

31:53

Foul by Barry Corr (Southend United).

31:53

Chris Hussey (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:24

Hand ball by Robbie Weir (Burton Albion).

30:05

Foul by Barry Corr (Southend United).

30:05

Ian Sharps (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

29:22

Foul by Barry Corr (Southend United).

29:22

Ian Sharps (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

28:40

Attempt saved. Will Atkinson (Southend United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Barry Corr with a headed pass.

28:03

Jacob Murphy (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

28:03

Foul by Chris Hussey (Burton Albion).

27:55

Attempt blocked. Billy Kee (Burton Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Marcus Holness.

26:45

Attempt missed. Barry Corr (Southend United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

25:40

Will Atkinson (Southend United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

25:40

Foul by Ian Sharps (Burton Albion).

20:29

Attempt saved. Kevan Hurst (Southend United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jacob Murphy with a cross.

19:34

Attempt missed. Lee Bell (Burton Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

18:44

Foul by Barry Corr (Southend United).

18:44

Callum McFadzean (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

16:12 Booking

Booking Ben Coker (Southend United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

15:49

Foul by Ben Coker (Southend United).

15:49

Zeli Ismail (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

10:46

Attempt blocked. Zeli Ismail (Burton Albion) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

9:38

Attempt missed. Barry Corr (Southend United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Michael Timlin with a cross.

6:59

Attempt missed. Adam McGurk (Burton Albion) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

5:04

Corner, Burton Albion. Conceded by John Egan.

3:50

Corner, Burton Albion. Conceded by Daniel Bentley.

2:16

Attempt blocked. Adam McGurk (Burton Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Robbie Weir with a headed pass.

1:11

Marcus Holness (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

1:11

Foul by Will Atkinson (Southend United).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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