Accrington Stanley v Boreham Wood
Tuesday 17th January 2023, 7.45pm
Wham Stadium, Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
Lee Ndlovu’s late equaliser against Accrington Stanley sent the Wood’s FA Cup tie to a replay, and they will be hoping for a repeat of their last trip to League One opposition with a potential visit of Leeds United or Cardiff City up for grabs in the Fourth Round.
IN FOCUS: ACCRINGTON STANLEY
Founded just 54 years ago, Accrington Stanley faced a stop-start first few decades since their initial establishment in 1896 but have since enjoyed much success after being revived in 1968. They spent the majority of the time bouncing between different divisions in the non-league, but it was the appointment of John Coleman in 1999 that sparked a change in fortunes for the ‘Owd Reds and the Lancashire-based outfit went on to establish themselves in the Football League. Then plying their trade in the Northern Premier League First Division, Coleman has overseen three promotions at the Wham Stadium which saw them first rise into the Conference Premier before achieving promotion just three years later into League Two, and they went on to spend over a decade in the fourth tier before finding themselves in League One in 2018 where they have remained ever since.
Coleman’s side have faced a more difficult campaign after a 12th place finish last season though, and despite a number of positive signings currently find themselves above the relegation zone on goal difference. They added experienced heads in Shaun Walley and Nathan Delfouneso to their ranks along with the likes of Lukas Jensen, Ryan Astley, Doug Tharme, Baba Fernandes and Mo Sangare on loan from Premier League and Championship clubs, but this hasn’t been able to prevent a struggle with just five wins all season. Nonetheless, they come into Saturday’s fixture looking to continue an improved run in the FA Cup after being eliminated at the First Round stage last season, with wins over Crawley Town and Barnet propelling them to the Third Round for the first time since 2018/19 where they got to the Fourth Round.
LAST TIME OUT
Accrington Stanley 2-0 Bristol Rovers
Saturday 14th January 2023
EFL League One
Second half goals from Tommy Leigh and Ryan Astley meant Accrington Stanley could celebrate their first league win at the Wham Stadium since October.
An even start to the game saw the first ten minutes lacking much action, but it was the Reds who almost made the breakthrough when Shaun Whalley crashed a chip against the post despite it beating Rovers stopper James Belshaw. This proved to be the closest either side came in the entire first half, although a corner from the visitors caused chaos as the game approached half time with Luke McCormick’s eventual effort being blocked, before the referee brought the first half to a close with no shots on target.
Stanley would have more success in the second though, and they opened the scoring just six minutes into the half when Leigh pounced on Rosaire Longelo’s long ball to strike past Belshaw and notch his ninth goal of the season. The Gas looked to bounce back immediately with Ryan Loft heading into the arms of Toby Savin, but Astley made the win safe with 11 minutes remaining as Harvey Rodgers met a Sean McConville corner at the far post, where he was well-placed to knock the ball back into the centre where the on-loan Everton man was waiting to fire home with his back to goal and seal all three points.
Bristol Rovers (H) W2-0
Lincoln City (A) D2-2 (W2-5 on pens)
Boreham Wood (A) D1-1
Derby County (H) L4-0
Morecambe (A) L2-0
Barnsley (H) D1-1
After a spell of relatively indifferent form seeing the ‘Owd Reds in the League One relegation zone, they now find themselves on a slightly improved run with two wins in a row following the draw at the Wood two weeks ago. Tommy Leigh’s second half penalty rescued a point against Barnsley and stretch their unbeaten streak to six games, but two defeats in a row saw them end 2022 in disappointing fashion with an even worse result at the start of 2023 seeing them kick-off the year with a 4-0 defeat at Derby County, as well as making it one league win in 13 outings. This would be followed by a draw against the Wood in the FA Cup as their attempt to reach the Fourth Round for the first time since 2019 was delayed, but they have ensured they come into Tuesday night’s fixture more confident with two wins in a row. A draw with Lincoln City in the FA Trophy saw them come out on top in the resulting penalty shootout, before celebrating their first league win at the Wham Stadium since October with strikes from Leigh and Ryan Astley sealing the three points last time out.
IN THE DUGOUT: JOHN COLEMAN
With a managerial career stretching back to 1997, experienced manager John Coleman has established himself as Accrington Stanley’s longest serving manager with as 12-and-a-half year stint at the Wham Stadium. He first took over as player-manager at Ashton United to kick-off his coaching career, but he first joined Stanley two years later in 1999 with the club in the Northern Premier League First Division and went on to win three promotions as champions to enter the Football League in 2006. At the time of his departure in 2012 he was the third longest serving manager in England behind Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger, but he opted to join Rochdale AFC to begin a brief spell away from the Crown Ground. Further stints at Southport and Sligo Rovers followed, but he returned to Lancashire for a second spell in 2014 and subsequently guided them to the League Two title four years later, with the ‘Owd Reds remaining in League One ever since.
ONE TO WATCH: SHAUN WHALLEY
Shaun Whalley is currently in his third stint with Accrington Stanley, having played for the club twice between 2006 and 2008. A veteran throughout the lower leagues, 35-year old Whalley played football as a youth for a number of local clubs in his hometown of Prescot, but began his career at Norwich City when he was spotted in 2001. Three years at Carrow Road preceded a return to Merseyside when he moved to Southport, before eventually kicking off his senior career when he signed professional terms with Chester City. Whalley struggled for regular game time with the Seals though and went on to play for Runcorn and Witton Albion, before his first spell at the Wham Stadium saw him move to Lancashire on loan for the 2006/07 season which was made permanent four months later.
He would make more than 50 appearances across his two seasons at the club, but returned to non-league ahead of the 2008/09 season where he would remain for the majority of his career. A move to Wrexham preceded a return to Southport on loan before further stints at Droylsden, Hyde United and a third spell at Southport permanently, playing over 100 times for the latter before a switch to Luton Town. Whalley had the unique distinction of being awarded both Conference Premier and Conference North winners’ medals in the same season after moving to AFC Telford United on loan, due to both the Hatters and the Bucks winning their respective leagues in 2013/14. He later returned to the Football League after a seven-year absence when he joined Shrewsbury Town, going on to make more than 200 appearances for the Shrews over a seven-year spell before returning to Accrington last summer at the age of 34, 14 years after leaving.
LAST TIME WE MET
Boreham Wood 1-1 Accrington Stanley
Saturday 7th January 2023
Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Lee Ndlovu kept the Wood’s FA Cup dream alive with his late equaliser rescuing a draw against League One outfit Accrington Stanley.
The ‘Owd Reds got off to a lightning quick start when Ryan Astley gave the visitors the lead after just six minutes, slotting into the bottom corner from close range after the Wood were unable to clear their lines. John Coleman’s men proceeded to dominate the ball during the opening stages but neither side was able to gain a foothold of the game during a period lacking any action, and the hosts struggled to create any clear cut chances as they went into the break trailing after being subdued by their opponents.
A cagey second half would get underway with Ndlovu going close, and they signalled their intent from the off when the Wood striker produced a wonderful solo run before winning a corner. Their best chance of the game so far would fall to the former Brackley Town man after Dennon Lewis ran the length of the pitch to lead a counter attack, with Ndlovu taking a couple of touches to beat the defender and give himself a yard of space before seeing his shot from close range take a last ditch deflection with Toby Savin beaten. This spurred the Wood on though, and continued to see the better of things despite a near sucker-punch when Shaun Whalley fired over the crossbar. Ndlovu would prove integral to the Wood’s attacking play and was taken out in a dangerous area as he raced through on goal, with George Broadbent firing the resulting free kick into the North Bank. The Wood would finally find some luck as the clock approached the final ten minutes though, and were rewarded with a deserved an equaliser which was met by a deafening roar from the home crowd. Ilesanmi delivered a threatening cross into the middle from deep which was met by Ndlovu, who rose above everyone else to power a header home before producing an even better knee slide in front of the jubilant North Bank. This would be enough to force a replay, giving the Wood another chance at glory after a hard-fought and spirited display.
OUR TOWN. OUR CLUB. OUR COMMUNITY.