Ten-man Bradford City failed to hold onto a point after a late Calvin Zola header secured victory for Burton.
The visitors lost skipper Ricky Ravenhill in the first half for violent conduct while defenders Luke Oliver and Andrew Davies left the field injured.
But it was Bradford who nearly went ahead, James Hanson heading wide before Burton's Jacques Maghoma hit the bar.
Billy Kee then headed wide, before Zola finally made the extra man count, converting Damien McCrory's cross.
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Burton Albion manager Gary Rowett told BBC Radio Derby:
"It is not easy against 10 men sometimes, we saw that down at Southend.
"One thing I will never, ever discredit them for is their character.
"Every game, no matter what has happened, they have tried to do the right things."