Boreham Wood v Accrington Stanley
Saturday 7th January 2023, 3.00pm
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Emirates FA Cup Third Round
Victory over Bristol Rovers in the last round saw the Wood overcome Football League opposition for the second season running, and they will be looking to make further strides in this season’s FA Cup by beating another League One side in Accrington Stanley this weekend.
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
Derby County 4-0 Accrington Stanley
Monday 2nd January 2023
EFL League One
Accrington Stanley fell to a heavy defeat against an in-form Derby County, with the Reds being under pressure from the off as the rampant Rams led 3-0 at the break.
An early lead was on the cards after the hosts got off to a lightning quick start, with Tom Barkhuizen stroking home after just seven minutes when Stanley failed to clear David McGoldrick’s dangerous ball into the box, and Conor Hourihane doubled the hosts’ advantage less than ten minutes later when a rapid counter attack saw Korey Smith feed the former Aston Villa man who finished superbly into the bottom corner. It could have been three as the hosts continued to dominate chances, with Lewis Dobbins firing narrowly wide before a couple of chances for McGoldrick saw him come inches away from meeting Barkhuizen’s cross before poking the ball just over the crossbar after racing through. McGoldrick did soon have his goal though asthe Rams extended their lead on the stroke of half time, with the former Republic of Ireland international converting a penalty in the second minute of added time after Ethan Hamilton was adjudged to have handled a close range strike.
Derby would add gloss to the scoreline within 20 seconds of the second half getting underway through Barkhuizen’s second of the game, when a short back pass was leapt on by Jason Knight who picked out the Derby #7 to slot home. Stanley tried to get one back with substitute Sean McConville trying his luck from distance as well as producing some half chances, but it wasn’t enough to reduce the margin of victory. William Obusa would have a free header saved before seeing red for kicking out at Liam Coyle, and although this brought a narrow glimmer of hope for the Reds, they were unable to pull anything back before the referee brought a close to proceedings. They did appeal for a penalty late on, but they were condemned to defeat on their first trip to Pride Park.
Derby County (H) L4-0
Morecambe (A) L2-0
Barnsley (H) D1-1
Burton Albion (A) W2-4
Oxford United (H) D1-1
Barnet (H) W1-0
The ‘Owd Reds come into Saturday’s fixture in relatively indifferent form, having followed six games unbeaten with three games without a win. A narrow victory over National League side Barnet set up the FA Cup tie with the Wood, but this would begin the end of a previously positive run of form as they could only nick a draw against Oxford United a week later. As a result, John Coleman’s men are winless in the league since mid-November as they followed it up with a six-goal thriller in the EFL Trophy, seeing Stanley come from behind to beat Burton Albion. However, Tommy Leigh’s second half penalty rescued a point against Barnsley on Boxing Day before ending the year with a 2-0 defeat at Morecambe, and they kicked off 2023 with a heavier defeat away at Derby County to make it one league win in 13 outings.
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: SEAN MCCONVILLE
Accrington Stanley’s all-time league appearance maker Sean McConville is currently in his second spell at the Wham Stadium, and surpassed 325 appearances for the ‘Owd Reds last season having re-joined in 2015. It was at Stanley where he broke out back in 2009 after beginning his career with stints at Burscough and Skelmersdale United, and he featured 89 times in his first spell at the club which lasted for three years. He made the switch to Stockport County in 2011 before joining Rochdale AFC on loan towards the end of the season, before spells at Barrow, Stalybridge Celtic and Chester followed between 2012 and 2015. He opted to return to Lancashire ahead of the 2015/16 season, and he has remained a regular presence in the team ever since with a further 324 appearances seeing him rack up a total of 413 in all competitions, in which he has contributed 70 goals and 93 assists playing in a whole host of positions over the last eight years.
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