REPORT: Wanderers v Accrington Stanley

A Good Friday followed by a happy Monday made it the perfect Easter for Wanderers as Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s double lifted the Whites back into the top 10.

Ian Evatt’s men backed up their victory at Doncaster with a first home win in five attempts to send another fantastic Family Day crowd of over 19,000 home happy.

A competitive Lancashire derby had been in the balance early in the second half after Stanley had cancelled out Dapo Afolayan’s 14 goal of the season just before the break.

But yet again, Wanderers' boss Evatt was able to use his added goalpower from the bench to great effect and the quality of Bodvarsson was to prove the difference.

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The Iceland international had been on the pitch for only a couple of minutes when he restored Wanderers’ lead with an explosive finish.

And after Stanley had been reduced to 10 men following a straight red card for Rosaire Longelo, Bodvarsson removed all doubt with his second goal a minute from the end as he moved to six for the club and relentless Wanderers extended their unbeaten run to six games in their quest to go undefeated to the end of the campaign.

Evatt shuffled his pack on the back of the win at Doncaster and made four changes across the forward positions as Wanderers looked to end their wait for a first home win since their run of six in a row which had breathed new life into their season.

Former Stanley striker Dion Charles was among those to return with fresh legs and he was sniffing for the opening goal within the opening five minutes.

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Looking to latch onto Michael Nottingham’s back-pass, Charles slid in with keeper Toby Savin and when the ball squired free for Xavier Amaechi, the winger sent his first-time effort wide as he looked to make his first start since November with a goal.

That was symptomatic of a first half-hour in which it didn’t quite click for Wanderers as they tried to utilise the pace of Charles and the trickery of Amaechi.

Stanley had their moments of encouragement going the other way, although former Reds’ loanee James Trafford was never over-extended in gathering long-range efforts.

And the first real chance came Wanderers’ way 10 minutes before the break.

George Johnston’s clearing header released Charles but the Northern Ireland international couldn’t quite give Jay Rich-Baghuelou the slip and under pressure from the defender dragged his attempted finish wide.

That at least opened things up and after Nottingham had headed a free-kick at Trafford, Wanderers went up a gear to force the breakthrough.

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Afolayan had just fired one effort wide when he again made space in the box when turning away from Mitch Clark to steer a typically measured finish low effort into the far bottom corner of the net with three minutes to go to half-time.

With five minutes added on there was still time for another as the Whites camped around the Stanley box, Declan John mis-kicking from the best sight of goal as Evatt’s men looked to tighten their grip.

But with just one goal in it the contest was far from over and five minutes into the second half Stanley were level.

Top scorer Colby Bishop had already fired a decent chance at Trafford and when Stanley had the chance to put the ball into the box again, Tommy Leigh’s cross was flicked on for Rich-Baghuelou to crash the ball home on the volley.

With Stanley now carrying the momentum and looking the most likely to score again, Evatt made a triple change in a bid to regain the initiative.

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And the impact was immediate.

Bodvarsson and Amadou Bakayoko were re-united up front and when Bakayoko laid the ball off for Bodvarsson, the Icelander advanced into the box and fired an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.

Suddenly Wanderers looked a different proposition again as Bakayoko fired wide, although Stanley thought they had equalised for a second time when Leigh had the ball in the net before seeing his celebrations curtailed by an off-side flag.

A third goal would have been a welcome cushion and with just over 10 minutes to go it nearly came.

Trademark persistence from MJ Williams released Bodvarsson and from his lovely, curling cross Sadlier put his effort just wide as he slid in at the far post.

It had been feisty stuff at time and following eight yellow cards, referee Thomas Bramall then showed red to Stanley wideman Longelo for a high challenge on Morley to leave the visitors to try and fight back with 10 men.

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They gave it a go but Wanderers always looked capable of adding to their tally on the break and with a minute to go a superb passage of play gave Bodvarsson the chance to wrap things up with his second of the game.

The striker had options on the edge of the penalty and chose the right one with another unerring finish as he went for goal and directed a low shot in off a post to keep Wanderers motoring towards the finishing line.

Wanderers: Trafford; Jones, Aimson, Johnston, John; Williams, Morley; Amaechi (Sadlier 65), Kachunga (Bodvarsson 67); Afolayan; Charles (Bakayoko 67). Substitutes: Dixon, Thomason, Baptiste, Gordon.

Booked: Afolayan, John, Amaechi, Williams

Accrington Stanley: Savin; Sykes, Nottingham, Rich-Baghuelou; Clark (Pritchard,73), Longelo, Conneely (Coyle 78), Hamilton, McConville; Leigh; Bishop. Substitutes: Isherwood, Butcher, O’Sullivan, Amankwah, Adedoyin.

Booked: Clark, McConville, Rich-Baghuelou, Conneely

Sent off: Longelo


Thomas Bramall

Attendance: 19,098 (Accrington 668)

Read Time: 5 mins