Town 2 Accrington Stanley 1
Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Jermaine Grandison, Mickey Demetriou, Ryan Woods, Mark Ellis, Connor Goldson (c), James Collins, Cameron Gayle, Bobby Grant, Tyrone Barnett (Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro 58), Jordan Clark
Subs: Mark Halstead, Ashley Vincent, Scott Vernon, Aaron Wildig, Keith Southern, Mikael Mandron
Accrington Stanley: Scott Davies, Michael Liddle (Kal Naismith 74), Luke Joyce, Dean Winnard, Josh Windass, Terry Gornell, Piero Mingoia, Anthony Barry (Seamus McCartan 74), Andy Procter, Rob Atkinson, Matt Crooks
Subs: Andrew Dawber, Sean Maguire, Gerardo Bruna, Seamus Conneely, George Bowerman
Ref: Geoff Eltingham
Assistants: Nick Hopton and Tony Peart
Fourth Official: Peter Wright
Attendance: 1137 (302)
Micky Mellon makes two changes from the side that lost at home to Northampton Town with Cameron Gayle and Bobby Grant coming into replace Keith Southern and Scott Vernon who drop down to the bench. It looks like Town will be switching to the familiar 3-5-2 formation that has served them so well this season.
Town were straight at Stanley from the whistle and James Collins found the space to get in behind the home defence and drive for goal, he cut the ball back onto his right and drove in a good looking shot that was blocked.
Both sides were guilty of giving the ball away with misplaced passes and this meant that play was breaking down. Bobby Grant did well to nick the ball and come away with it but his pass as misplaced and went to Procter, he took it forward and fired in a long range effort that took a nick to go behind for a Stanley corner.
Town took the early lead and it started with some good passing play to move the ball around the pitch nicely, it came to Jordan Clark who drove in on goal but Anthony Barry clipped Clickers heals to send him flying and pick up the first yellow card of the game. Bobby Grant placed the ball and then drove the free-kick in, it took a deflection and looped up leaving Scott Davies rooted to the spot and the ball dropped in at the back post to give Town the lead after 10 minutes.
After the restart Stanley were handed a good chance straight away, it came after Jermaine Grandison got a header wrong and it dropped to Terry Gornell, he drove in on goal and it looked dangerous but Goldson was switched on and got in a very important tackle to snuff out the danger.
Town had a lovely sight of goal just before the 20 minute mark, good pressure around the Stanley goal saw the ball drop to James Collins on the edge of the box, he hit a lovely low shot that flew past Davies but it was inches wide of the target.
Accrington were picking up the yellow card and on the half hour mark they were lucky not to get another, Ryan Woods picked the ball up and made a lovely surging run forward that was stopped by a foul by Anthony Barry, the ref gave a free-kick but kept his cards in his pocket. The ball was placed and Connor Goldson curled a shot over the wall that dropped just over the Stanley bar.
Stanley were back on level terms and there were a number of puzzled looks in the press box. The ball came into the Town box and Leutwiler punched the ball clear, it was recycled back towards the back post and Gayle and a Stanley player challenge in the air for the ball, the Stanley player went down and the ref saw something and gave a penalty. Josh Windass placed the ball and hit it straight down the middle with power to beat Leutwiler and level the scores.
Stanley nearly grabbed a second goal just before the break after a quick release from keeper Davies, it put Mingoia away and his pace took him in of the Town goal, he got a shot in that Leutwiler got down to but could only parry away, Gornell nicked in and got a shot in but Leutwiler was there again with an important save and Mark Ellis came away with the ball and cleared the danger.
The second half continued as the first ended with both sides seeing the ball and looking to get on the attack. The best of Town's early chances came after good work between Clark and Gayle ended with the defender getting in behind the defence and delivering a good cross, Barnett got a flick header but it was wide of the target.
Town were looking to play the ball around and when Jermaine Grandison picked it up inside the Town half he looked for options, he put down the middle to Grant, he turned and played it to Barnett out wide, he came in field and then curled a shot in that is just wide of the far post.
Micky Mellon made his first change just before the hour mark bringing on Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro to replace Tyrone Barnett in a straight switch.
The conditions were bad with wind and heavy rain but Town were continuing to push and look to put pressure on the Stanley goal. Bobby Grant delivered a corner that was easily cleared, it came back out to Grant who hit a better delivery that Davies came for but dropped but it was just out of reach of the waiting Goldson and Ellis and Stanley cleared the danger.
Despite the conditions Town were continuing to play the ball around and get at Stanley, Gayle made a good run forward and then played the ball to Grant, he cut inside and then curled a decent looking shot in on goal but it was at Davies who collected comfortably.
With the final whistle approaching Town were continuing to look for the openings and again Grant and Gayle combined, it went out wide again to Gayle who hit a low cross to the near post that Collins connected with but he got under the ball and his shot went high and wide. Moments later Jordan Clark did well to skip through the Stanley midfield and then play it into Collins with his back to goal, he controlled it and then Grant nicked it to curl a shot in but it was wide of the target.
Town's pressure paid off just before the 90 minute mark and it was Bobby Grant with his second of the game, it came after Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro found space and crossed an inviting ball in and there was Grant with a header in, Davies got a hand to it but the power of the header took it past the keeper to make it 2-1.