REPORT: Accrington Stanley v Wanderers

Wanderers’ search for points and goals on the road continued as they drew another blank to leave Stanley empty-handed.

Ian Evatt had called for a positive response after Wanderers’ mid-week no-show at Fleetwood.

And while his players undoubtedly put in a shift in an improved performance on a foul afternoon at the Wham Stadium, their current lack of a cutting edge blunted that effort.

Wanderers had chances before the break to try and end what has now become a six-game drought away from home in League One and take a grip on the contest.

But, crucially, none were taken and a 20th-minute header from Tommy Leigh was ultimately enough to give Stanley victory as they extended a four-game post-War unbeaten record against the Whites to stay above Wanderers, who remain, frustratingly, lodged in the bottom half of the table while they wait for playing reinforcements to arrive.

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Already severely stretched by injuries and the absence of suspended skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos, Wanderers were dealt a further blow when Will Aimson was also ruled out after testing positive for Covid.

That meant a further defensive re-shuffle with a first start in the league since October, 2019 for Adam Senior following the teenager’s recall from a loan spell at York City.

Alex Baptiste started in the centre of the defence and MJ Williams was also back from injury to make a welcome return in midfield

And Wanderers had an early chance to try and repair their recent poor away form when Dapo Afolayan flicked on an Elias Kachunga cross for stand-in skipper Eoin Doyle to get a sight of goal he couldn’t capitalise on with a snatched effort.

Stanley – who had won the only previous league meeting between the sides at Accrington 7-1 in Wanderers’ dark days of two seasons ago – were a threat from set-pieces and Kieran Lee had to head an effort from Ross Sykes clear from in front of goal.

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But the home side needed a superb double save from Toby Savin to keep Wanderers before they grabbed the advantage with 20 minutes gone.

Savin firstly kept out a Doyle effort after the striker had been superbly picked out by Dapo Afolayan before the keeper then spread himself to block the follow-up from Declan John when the Wanderers’ full-back looked a certain scorer.

And from looking like likely leaders Wanderers then found themselves behind when Sykes lofted the ball into the penalty area and Leigh reacted quickest to nod the bouncing ball over Joel Dixon.

Wanderers needed a response and after Kieran Lee had seen an effort blocked by the busy Sykes, Evatt’s men finished the first half strongly.

Afolayan saw a skidding effort pushed around the post and when George Thomason swung in the resulting corner, Senior missed a chance to mark an impressive comeback with a goal when he powered a header over the bar.

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The Wanderers’ fans – many of whom had taken a soaking in the uncovered away end as they outnumbered the home support – did their best to lift their side at the start of the second half by cranking the atmosphere up a notch.

But with little clicking going forward, Evatt made a change with 25 minutes to go as Xav Aamechi replaced Doyle, who passed the captain’s armband onto Williams, in a bid to try and build up some momentum.

If anything, that was now with Stanley as substitute Matt Butcher sent long-range efforts just wide with virtually his first two touches after coming off the bench.

Frequent stoppages in play did little to help Wanderers’ cause as time became their enemy and denied them any rhythm.

But, equally, the visitors didn’t use the ball well enough when they had it with Savin never over-stretched in securing a clean sheet which also confirmed a sixth successive away league defeat.

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Wanderers: Dixon; Senior, Baptiste, Johnston, John; Williams; Kachunga, Lee (Delfouneso 88), Thomason, Afolayan; Doyle (Amaechi 66). Substitutes: Gilks, Brockbank, Gordon, Tweedley, Pettifer.


Accrington Stanley: Savin; Amankwah, Sykes, Nottingham, Rodgers; Coyle, Hamilton; Malcolm (Butcher 70), Leigh (Woods 83), McConville (O’Sullivan 49); Bishop. Substitutes: Sherring, Nolan, Mansell.

Booked: Amankwah, Coyle, Savin

Referee: Alan Young

Attendance: 4,546 (Wanderers 2,599)

Read Time: 4 mins