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YOUTH: Town 3 Accrington Stanley 2

10 December 2016

Town score late to beat Stanley

Town: Jack Atkinson, Ryan Sears, Matt Jones, Jack Leask (John McAtee 76), Joel Bonner, Cameron Esien, Aaron Gilpin, Chris Gallagher, George Hassall (Tyrone Ofori 62), Ryan Barnett, Lifumpa Mwandwe (Callum Roberts 62)
Subs: Cameron Gregory, Brett Taylor

Accrington: Nathan Woodland, Kassom Shah (Alex O’Neill 57), Josh Mhami (Niall Watson 65), Zehn Mohammed, Jack Burgess, Luke Moran, Adam Cooper, Harry Waterhouse (Joe Rathbone 76, Aspen Feathers 81) Tom Reilly, Reagan Ogle
Subs: Joel Mills

Cameron Esien's late header gave Town victory over Accrington Stanley for the second time in a week. Accrington had taken the lead, but Town hit back with two goals before the break. The lead appeared to be enough until Accrington equalised with 5 minutes to go, but Esien's 90th minute goal gave Town all three points.

Team news:
Matt Rains made five changes to the side which beat the same opposition in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night. Callum Roberts, John McAtee and Tyrone Ofori were rested, whilst George Hughes was suspended and Charley Higgs injured after the hardworking encounter in the week.

First Half:
Town had the first chance of any note on 7 minutes when Aaron Gilpin was fouled right on the edge of the box, but Chris Gallagher’s free-kick went wildly over the bar.

Accrington then took the lead on 11 minutes when some defensive miscommunication allowed Harry Blackburn to run away from the Town defence and he coolly rounded Jack Atkinson before slotting into an empty net.

It wouldn’t take long for Town to get back on level terms when 3 minutes later Cameron Esien headed a Chris Gallagher free-kick across goal and George Hassall was there to send a stooping header into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

Ryan Barnett almost doubled Town’s lead a few minutes later when he ran past two Accrington defenders, but his shot went just wide of Nathan Woodland’s post.

Accrington had a couple of half-chances in quick succession when first Harry Blackburn was unable to control a volley from 10 yards and then Jack Atkinson was forced into a comfortable save from Josh Mhami’s 25 yard drive.

Town would take the lead 10 minutes before half-time when the influential Ryan Barnett struck a powerful volley past Woodland after Accrington failed to clear their lines.

Town had Ryan Sears to thank for keeping the scores level when he expertly cleared a Harry Blackburn shot off the line after a well worked Stanley free-kick.

Town continued to look good going forward and Chris Gallagher went close with a 25 yard shot, but neither side could find another goal before the break as Town went into half-time 2-1 up.

Half Time: 2-1

Second Half:
The second 45 minutes started very slowly with no clear cut chances for either side in the opening 20 minutes.

However, the game finally came back to life on 67 minutes when a neat Town move saw Ryan Sears in space on the right hand side and his cross found Matt Jones yards out, but he was off-balance and his shot went over the bar.

Accrington then nearly equalised a minute later when Harry Blackburn found himself in behind the Town defence for the second time in the game, but Joel Bonner managed to recover and make a brilliant last ditch challenge.

Both Town and Accrington made multiple substitutions in the second half, but neither team looked like scoring, with both sides being restricted to shots from distance.

However, with just 6 minutes to go Accrington found an equaliser when Harry Blackburn’s head connected with a cross from the left hand side and it crept into the bottom corner, past the despairing dive of Atkinson.

Town came close to retaking the lead a minute later as Tyrone Ofori shot wide when it looked easier to score after some good work from Callum Roberts down the left.

Town piled the pressure on in the final 5 minutes and John McAtee was denied from distance by Nathan Woodland, but they would find a winner with 90 minutes on the clock when Chris Gallagher’s free-kick was headed home by Cameron Esien.

John McAtee was when then sent off before the final whistle for an off the ball incident, which left a sour taste in the mouth, but ten-man Town hung on for win.

Full Time: 3-2

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