By Jon Harries
Well it was better than Saturday. Four changes made from the side humbled at Wigan with Josh McEachran getting his first start for the club and Matthew Sorinola getting a rare start in what was the headline team news. We started off on the front foot, Scott Fraser delivering a free kick and O’Hora forced a comfortable save from Maxwell, then a golden chance a few minutes later. Laird who was having phenomenal first half played it across to Jerome who had his shot superbly blocked by James Husband. The ball then came out to Sorinola who delivered another ball into the box and Laird from a few yards out somehow spooned it over the bar, but again though all the pretty football was punished with one mistake.
Harry Darling dallied on the ball too long, Kaikai intercepted and played in danger man Jerry Yates who rounded Fisher to slot in the only goal of the game and the eventual winner. The second half especially was slow and lethargic with Jerome hitting the bar about the best chance we created against an organised and resolute defence. I genuinely think Blackpool could grab the elusive last spot in the play offs, they have all the tools plus key players returning, the only thing against them may be the fixture pile up. As for the Dons, much better than the Wigan game but again the details are missing.
Accrington Stanley warmed up for our encounter at Stadium MK with a humbling 4-1 defeat to struggling Bristol Rovers. Two down at half time to goals by Luke Leahy and an Alex Rodman special, Accrington never really got going and further goals by Sam Nicholson and Zain Westbrooke confirmed the result despite a late consolation goal from Paul Smyth. Manager Jon Coleman came out post-match and apologised to the fans who paid for an IFollow stream stating, “it falls well below my standards” , expect a reaction Saturday. Accrington’s form has been patchy of late, three defeats and two draws in their last six games, the solitary win coming last Saturday at home to Swindon. Considering they were in such good form pre and post the Covid break to the point they could have been in automatic promotion contention. A play off push though would still be punching above their weight this season considering their budget and the fact every season nobody gives them a chance. It’s also a ground I’d love to visit post lockdown.
Nathan Baxter and Toby Savin are both fighting for the number 1 jersey, Michael Nottingham has been a shrewd acquisition in defence helping secure 12 clean sheets out of 31 games played. Cameron Burgess has also been getting plaudits. In midfield, Joe Pritchard and Sean McConville supply the ammunition and a young loanee from Chelsea Tariq Uwakwe was very impressive assisting both goals in the reverse fixture.
Up top they have the “Deadly Duo” of Dion Charles and Colby Bishop in tandem and have been sensational, with 12 and 8 goals respectively the “little and large” duo are proving that there is talent in non-league. Whilst Charles is the “Fox in the Box” and likes to run the channels and scored a brace in the reverse fixture. Bishop is the physical presence who is unselfish in his work for the team. Both are so important to the success of the Accrington side, shut them down and we have a chance.
Predicted Line Up
Laird – O’Hora – Darling – Lewington – Harvie
Thompson – O’Riley – Fraser Grigg – Mason
Louis Thompson provided a positive cameo on Tuesday giving impetus and control in midfield. Grigg and Mason can provide runs and off the ball plus intelligent /movement to create space for each other and the team. Personally I would like to see Daniel Harvie given an extended run in the side, we certainly look better with him than without him.
I predict another 1-1 draw. Three games lost on the bounce, no win in five, the rot needs to stop soon. Martin knows that more than most, but there were signs of improvement in performance in my honest opinion on Tuesday against Blackpool. The next step is consistently performing and showing an attacking threat. The Process maybe bumpy at the moment but smooth roads are around the corner.
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