Burton produced a defensive masterclass to deny Bristol City second place in the Sky Bet Championship with a goalless draw at Ashton Gate.
Nigel Clough’s visitors were under pressure throughout but put bodies on the line all over the field to make it a hugely frustrating night for the hosts.
Goalkeeper Stephen Bywater made some important early saves and Bobby Reid had a 66th-minute goal disallowed, and for long stretches City continually met a brick wall in and around the Burton box.
The Robins came into the game on an 11-match unbeaten run and began purposefully. Jamie Paterson fired over from 25 yards before the first clear chance of the game fell to Reid after five minutes.
His close-range shot was well saved by Bywater and the rebound fell to strike partner Famara Diedhiou, who was denied by a goal-saving tackle from Burton skipper Jake Buxton.
A Paterson volley was deflected wide and Bywater denied Reid again by keeping out his angled drive at the near post as the hosts dominated the opening 15 minutes.
But Burton began to grow into the game and managed to frustrate Lee Johnson’s men for the remainder of the first half.
Bywater pushed a long-range effort from Josh Brownhill around a post, but his team defended with increasing belief.
City suffered a major blow just before the break when midfield driving force Korey Smith was forced off by what looked a hamstring injury. Marlon Pack was introduced as his replacement.
The half-time whistle was greeted with cheers by the 178 travelling Burton fans, but home fans also applauded their team for some intricate approach play without a finishing touch.
It was a similar story at the start of the second period with City dominating possession. Paterson sent a 20-yard free kick over after a foul by Kyle McFadzean on Diedhiou.
Johnson sent on Jonathan Leko for Niclas Eliasson after 55 minutes in a bid to find more penetration on the flanks. The young loanee from West Brom was soon threatening and had a 64th-minute shot deflected over.
From the resulting corner Aden Flint fired over. Then Reid shot home from 12 yards, only for the goal to be ruled out for a foul by a team-mate on the edge of the box.
Ben Turner was booked for scything down Diedhiou from behind as the visitors continued to battle to stay on level terms.
Burton substitute Marvin Sordell shot wide from long distance in one of their few goal attempts. Then he almost sealed the perfect smash-and-grab performance with an 80th minute shot that was headed clear by Flint with goalkeeper Frank Fielding beaten.
It was the small contingent of Burton fans who were cheering loudest at the end, while home supporters vented their frustration towards referee James Linington.