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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Accrington Stanley V The Imps

28 April 2018

The Imps slipped to defeat in a tight game against Accrington Stanley who were crowned League Two champions at the final whistle.In a game of relatively few true goal scoring chances it would be a first half effort from Seamus Conneely was enough to win the day for the hosts.

City fielded an unchanged lineup against Stanley at The Wham Stadium and the noise from the home supporters was as vociferous as expected with the home side looking to clinch the SkyBet League Two title. 

The Imps started brightly, combative in the tackle and determined as ever and it was epitomised by Alex Woodyard’s early run down the left, he won a free kick which Neal Eardley whipped into the box but Aaron Chapman held onto Michael Bostwick’s looping flick header.  There seemed to be a little indecision from the home defence, they were struggling to contain the movement of Matt Green and Ollie Palmer, Green almost getting onto the end of a Luke Waterfall through ball, but Chapman was quickly off his line to gather.

Billy Kee had the first opportunity for Stanley, but his effort was scuffed wide of goal as James Wilson put the striker under considerable pressure. Seamus Conneelly hit a low drive through a sea of legs following a corner for the hosts, it appeared to take a slight deflection on the way through and Ryan Allsop must have seen it late but made a wonderful save as the home fans were ready to celebrate the opening goal.

After the early flurries in either area the game was a little disjointed, with either side unable to break through the respective defences. Scott Wharton making a good challenge to halt Jordan Clark’s attempts to get free down the right.  Palmer won a free kick for The Imps on the left which Eardley lined up, his floated ball in was punched away by Chapman as City kept up the pressure but the resulting corner kick unfortunately came to nothing.

McConville tried a looping effort from inside the area after Allsop palmed away a Stanley cross which went off target, the host’s number eleven tried again moments later but again it was no danger to The Imps’ goal as it was diverted wide by a deflection.  The breakthrough was to come for Stanley though ten minutes before halftime, a ball in from Kayden Jackson on the left pinballed around inside the area and before being swept home from close range, via a deflection and Clark was accredited with the goal.

There was a chance for a second for the hosts, when Conneely was brought down inside the area up stepped Billy Kee to strike the ball, Allsop was there to save low to his right, would it be a turning point for The Imps?

Half Time

Stanley 1 The Imps 0

City came out strongly for the second half instantly putting pressure on the Stanley defence, the ball was kept in home territory and with the almost 1,800 Imps’ behind Chapman’s goal it added another facet which the home side had to deal with as all the noise was now coming from that end of the stadium.

Stanley were penned into their own area as City continued to press but they were defending admirably to keep out the visitors.

It took almost ten minutes before the hosts were to get into Imps’ territory in the second half, Jackson was the threat for Stanley as his low cross was dealt with well by Allsop at the near post.

The game opened up as the home fans started to sense the title was theirs, but The Imps weren’t there to simply let things go to Stanley’s plan. Green did well to collect possession coming deep following a Stanley attack, the ball was fed to Rhead before being slipped to Harry Anderson through the middle, he was brought down by Mark Hughes on the edge of the box. Bostwick tried his luck but his shot was blocked, the ball was kept alive and Rhead had a shot blocked before The Imps won a corner.  The ball came in deep for Waterfall to meet however, his header was off target, leaving the skipper with his head in his hands.  Chances were at a premium but City looked the more likely to fashion a shooting chance and that came to fruition as Wharton helped on a ball from Allsop into the path of Anderson and Green who both hared after it, the latter managed to turn and fire a shot which Chapman did well to tip over. From the corner Waterfall was again to get his head on the ball but it flashed wide of target.  The skipper again was to win an aerial challenge, this time meeting a Tom Pett centre off target as The Imps kept coming. City were resilient, determined and going to the final whistle looking for the equalising goal but it just wasn’t to be.

Full Time

Accrington Stanley 1 The Imps 0

1          Aaron CHAPMAN

2          Jimmy DUNNE

3          Mark HUGHES

4          Janoi DONACIEN

7          Jordan CLARK

8          Scott BROWN

10       Kayden JACKSON

11       Sean McCONVILLE

26       Callum JOHNSON

28       Seamus CONNEELY

29       Billy KEE

Substitutes

16       Johnny MAXTED

5          Ben RICHARDS-EVERTON

6          Liam NOLAN

9          Offrande ZANZALA

12       Danny WILLIAMS

17       Enrico SOUSA

32       Harvey RODGERS

Goal: Conneelly 35’

Booking: Conneelly 45’ Hughes 68’

The Imps

22       Ryan ALLSOP

5          Luke WATERFALL

6          Scott WHARTON

8          Ollie PALMER

9          Matt RHEAD

10       Matt GREEN

15       James WILSON

16       Michael BOSTWICK

19       Lee FRECKLINGTON

23       Neal EARDLEY

30       Alex WOODYARD

Substitutes

1          Paul FARMAN

2          Sean LONG

4          Elliott WHITEHOUSE (72’ for Frecklington)

7          Tom PETT (77’ for Woodyard)

14       Jordan WILLIAMS

26       Harry ANDERSON (60’ for Palmer)

32       Cameron STEWART

Booking: Green 20’ Wilson 33’

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Assistants: Ken Haycock & Simon Clayton

Attendance: 4,753 (1789 Imps Supporters)


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