Accrington Stanley 2-0 Fleetwood Town
It will be Accrington Stanley who will be celebrating Lancashire Day tomorrow after a 2-0 derby victory over Fleetwood Town in front of a crowd of 1699, with 364 from Fleetwood. After two form sides had nullified each other for much of the game, Stanley went eight matches unbeaten with a penalty from Danny Webber and a goal from Kayode Odejayi.
After wins on Saturday, both teams had a familiar look. Town manager, Graham Alexander, selected an unchanged side while James Beattie made one enforced change for Stanley, Michael Richardson replacing the suspended Nicky Hunt.
There was a lively atmosphere at the Store First Ground at kick off, heightened when Peter Murphy fell in the area under pressure from Ryan Cresswell in the second minute. Referee Langford waved play on. Town responded in the fourth, Gareth Evans picking up a pass from Antoni Sarcevic but his shot was blocked. Accrington pressed again before Jeff Hughes fired a cross from the left wide of Marcus Bettinelli’s left post after eight minutes.
Opportunities were limited as two form sides matched each other closely, the game played largely in midfield. For Town it was a quite different contest from Saturday’s ‘goal fest’. They did, however, come closest to scoring first, in the 22nd minute. Stanley’s defence momentarily went to sleep. Evans crossed low from the right and Sarcevic thumped a right foot shot on to the cross bar. Two minutes later, good pressure from the home side ended with Piero Mingoia driving a right-foot shot straight at Scott Davies.
As the game opened up, both sides had further chances. A mistake from Nathan Pond forced Davies to rush from his area to clear. Town came straight back, Steven Schumacher feeding Nathan Tyson who struck a left-foot shot across goal and wide. Back came Stanley, Luke Joyce shaping to find Davies’s top corner and end a two year goal drought but his shot was marginally high. A further effort from longer range on the half hour was high, wide and not very handsome. Town were forced to defend manfully under further pressure.
Charlie Taylor set up a chance for Tyson at the near post as the game ebbed and flowed. The full back was brought down by Richardson, giving Town a free kick opportunity after 35 minutes. Schumacher looked for Cresswell but Stanley’s defence held.
Conor McLaughlin was spoken to by the referee after felling Mingoia but avoided a booking.
Town came close to breaking the deadlock in the 43rd minute, a corner from Schumacher met with a firm header from Sarcevic, deflected wide. However, the homework had been done, the threats nullified and the teams went in goalless.
The second half began in similar vein. Town, looking to break forward with quick interplay, continued to be closely marshalled and Tyson was getting little chance to make a mark on the game.
The first substitution, just after the hour, saw Webber replacing George Bowerman for Stanley. Following a tackle from Stewart Murdoch the referee called skipper Cresswell across, having clearly spotted an issue.
Sarcevic was released down the left by in the 66th minute, setting up Hughes for a shot deflected for a corner. Substitute Webber was immediately involved, forcing a save from Davies two minutes later. At the opposite end, Cresswell just failed to get his head on to the end of an Evans cross after running from deep.
Both sides threatened without stretching either goalkeeper. Davies dived left to anticipate a Richardson drive from the edge of the area but it was marginally wide.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 76th minute. Accrington pressure brought an error from Town as Murphy was fouled in the area, Webber converting emphatically from the spot. Town pressed with Alexander increasing his attacking options by bringing on Emmanuel Dieseruvwe in place of Murdoch in the 78th minute.
Five minutes later, Odejayi gave the Stanley supporters further joy, rifling a right foot shot past Davies. Matty Blair replaced McLaughlin in the 86th minute and Jon Parkin, last year’s hat trick hero, came on for Schumacher as added time beckoned. Neither player had the chance to make an impact. Some consolation for Town was the fact that teams around them failed to capitalise.
TOWN: Davies, McLaughlin (Blair 86), Pond, Cresswell (capt), Taylor, Evans, Schumacher (Parkin 89), Murdoch (Dieseruvwe 78), Hughes, Sarcevic, Tyson