FA YOUTH CUP REPORT: Wanderers v Accrington Stanley

Wanderers saw their hopes of an extended FA Youth Cup run ended by Accrington for the second year running on a disappointing night at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Last season the Whites bowed out at the first hurdle and 12 months on after an opening win over Wythenshawe Amateurs, Wanderers suffered a second-round exit as they missed out on a trip to Leeds United in round three.

Julian Darby’s side had beaten the Reds in their recent Youth Alliance League meeting but there was little chance of a repeat as Wanderers failed to find top gear.

A 32nd-minute goal from Calvin Harper sent Stanley on their way to a trip to Elland Road as the hosts paid the price for a poor first half performance.

The Whites improved after the break and had chances to at least take the tie towards extra-time.

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But they couldn’t force an equaliser and after the Reds had been reduced to 10 men after captain Aaron Pickles was sent off in the 90th minute, an injury-time strike from substitute Owen Devonport confirmed Wanderers’ exit.

The Whites had made a bright enough start as they looked to move the ball around and always had a willing outlet in the hard-working Danny Jones.

But the first-half chances all came Stanley’s way and the tie could have been all but over at the break.

Harper lifted an excellent opportunity over the top from close-range with a quarter of an hour gone before forcing Wanderers’ keeper Jack Dallimore to save with his legs.

And then annoyingly for the Whites when they did go behind the damage was self-inflicted.

From a decent position in the visitors’ half they elected to head backwards and when Adam Beardsworth under-hit a back-pass, a grateful Harper ran clear to slot home.

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Alex Henderson then fired an effort over the top and following a further mix-up at the back from the Whites, Jasper Newton couldn’t hit the target as Stanley missed another opportunity to extend their lead.

And that may have proved costly as Wanderers improved after the break and started to carry more of a threat themselves.

Leo Graham steered shot against the post as he met Jones’ cross 12 yards out and Harrison Fleury and Jones both had sights of goal as Darby’s side pressed for a leveller.

But Stanley weathered the storm and Wanderers’ last chance to level came and went when substitute Yestin Shakespear was unable to turn in an excellent ball back across goal from Sam Inwood at the far post with 10 minutes to go.

Accrington then lost their skipper to a second yellow card but wrapped up victory when Devonport drove the ball into the top corner in stoppage time to underline the Whites’ tame exit.

Wanderers: Dallimore; Beardsworth (Shakespear, HT), Hogan, Halford; Frimpong, Burgess, Sharples, Inwood; Fleury (Toole 82); Jones (Lawrence 88), Graham. Substitutes: Barlow, Grayson, Toole, Leigh, Westwood.

Accrington Stanley: Clayton; Monis (Smith 25), Pickles, Young, Newton; Hall; Massey (Devonport 76), Henderson, Poilly, Trickett; Harper. Substitutes: Riva, Kelly, Gough, Alston, Sohna.

Referee: Adam Davies

Attendance: 354

Images: Finn Watkins

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