Fleetwood Town’s solid defensive display was spoiled by Ryan Edwards as he pounced to secure an 89th-minute winner for Burton Albion.
In a largely uninspiring contest, neither side created many clear-cut chances, but the beers will have been on the Brewers thanks to Edwards’ late winner as he glanced home Liam Boyce’s precise cross.
Town boss Joey Barton made five changes to the line-up which started the midweek Leasing.com Trophy defeat at the hands of Accrington Stanley.
Callum Connolly was drafted straight in for his debut following his loan switch from Everton, while Lewie Coyle was also a starter after finally penning a permanent deal.
It was an adventurous attacking line-up for the trip to a blustery Pirelli Stadium, with Barton choosing a three-pronged forward line in the shape of Wes Burns, Ched Evans and Josh Morris.
Leading scorer Paddy Madden had to be content with a place on the bench.
As he watched on, Town made an encouraging start, carving out the first opportunity in the sixth minute.
Following a sweeping move down the left, Kyle Dempsey eventually played in an advanced Coyle, who sent a low effort narrowly past the far post.
Nigel Clough’s men soon clicked into gear, however, and Alex Cairns had to be alert to keep out Oliver Sarkic’s deflected shot.
Early indications were that this was set to be a tight game, and one in which Town would need to be on their mettle against the in-form hosts.
This form – which had earned the Brewers three wins in their previous four games – was highlighted again just before the half-hour when Cairns superbly kept out Sarkic’s flicked strike.
It had been tough going for Barton’s men in the opening half but they did miss a great chance to take a surprise lead 10 minutes before the interval.
Profiting from a clumsy slip by defender Colin Daniel, Burns darted free towards goal but dragged a shot wide when he only had keeper Kieran O’Hara to beat.
The Brewers registered the first chance of the second half, with Sarkic arrowing a shot just off target after meeting a neat lay-off from Lucas Akins.
As the hosts kept their foot on the pedal, there was a scare for Town when Ashley Eastham almost sliced John Brayford’s cross past a stunned Cairns.
Barton threw on Madden and Jack Sowerby in a clear attempt to pep up an under-performing forward line, but with 15 minutes to go, this was still a game firmly up for grabs.
Town could find little further inspiration. though, and the hosts probably deserved their late winner.
Burton Albion: O’Hara, Brayford, O’Toole, Buxton, Daniel (Hutchinson 36), Quinn, Edwards, Fraser, Templeton (Boyce 54), Akins, Sarkic (Sbarra 76). Subs not used: Nartey, Garratt, Hart, Sharman-Lowe.
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Souttar, Andrew, Dempsey (McAleny 83), Coutts, Connolly (Sowerby 67), Burns (Madden 67), Evans, Morris. Subs not used: Gilks, Biggins, Saunders, Hill.
Referee: Josh Smith.