Bogey side Burton brought an end to Wanderers’ unbeaten streak as three quick-fire goals sentenced the Whites to a first defeat in eight games.
Wanderers’ surge towards the play-off places was slowed as Burton struck three times in eight minutes in a lightning start.
There was to be no way back for Ian Evatt’s men whose reply from substitute Dion Charles came too late to prevent a first defeat since early January.
Wanderers gave it a go to try and spark an unlikely comeback as they dominated the second half in an effort to cast doubts in Burton minds.
But the Brewers have now never lost to Wanderers in seven meetings and given their head start that record was never really in doubt.
With a heavy workload and a heavy pitch, Evatt made four changes to the side that had extended the winning sequence to six in seven games at Oxford at the weekend.
But any plans had to be quickly re-thought following a disastrous start which saw Burton go 3-0 up inside the first 20 minutes.
And to add to Wanderers’ frustration the home side didn’t have to work too hard to almost put the game out of sight.
All three goals came from set-pieces as Wanderers failed to deal with balls into the penalty area as Joe Powell converted a flick-on from close range before captain John Brayford – sent off when the sides met in September – twice headed home within the space of five minutes.
The only consolation came in the fact that Wanderers had plenty time to try and repair the damage and twice before the half-hour mark they went close to pulling a goal back to restore some hope.
Kieran Sadlier slipped a ball through for Amadou Bakayoko, whose fierce strike was well saved by Ben Garratt with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson – who impressed on his first start – seeing his follow-up blocked on the line.
The lively Sadlier then brought another fine save out of Garratt with a fine free-kick which was bottom-corner bound when a goal before the break might have changed the flow.
Evatt resisted the temptation to make changes at the break but didn’t leave his players to dwell in the dressing room as they were sent out early ahead of the start of the second half, which was then delayed a few minutes in due to an apparent medical emergency in the crowd.
Time was against Wanderers but they didn’t accept their fate lightly and with almost an hour gone Sadlier again showed his threat from set-pieces with another free-kick he curled just wide of the target.
Wanderers were building up the pressure and a fine ball from Will Aimson saw Bakayoko get behind the Brewers’ defence to lift an effort across the face of goal.
And with 25 minutes to go Evatt looked to build on the momentum as he sent on Charles, who immediately linked up with Marlon Fossey to ask questions of the Burton defence which was then relieved to see a George Johnston header from Declan John’s free-kick fly straight at Garratt.
It was one of those nights for Wanderers and when Aimson was bundled over in the box with no penalty given in the closing stages it certainly looked it.
But they didn’t throw in the towel and four minutes into added time Charles made sure they wouldn’t draw a blank for the first time since launching the unbeaten run that has revived their season with another well-taken goal.
Running onto a flick-on from Bodvarsson, the strike coolly lifted the ball over Garratt to claim his fifth goal in seven games as the Whites look to re-group and go again in back-to-back home games, starting with Saturday’s visit of AFC Wimbledon.
Wanderers: Trafford; Aimson, Santos, Johnston; Fossey, Williams Dempsey, John (Amaechi, 85); Sadlier (Afolayan 69); Bodvarsson, Bakayoko. Substitutes: Charles, Morley, Thomason, Baptiste, Gordon.
Burton Albion: Garratt. Hughes, Brayford, Shaughnessy; Mancienne (Leak 78); Hamer, Gilligan, Powell (Maddox 87), Kokolo; Ahadme (Taylor 90), Saydee. Substitutes: Kovar, Chapman, Blake-Tracy, Lakin.
Referee: Scott Oldham