So as I sat glued to the Accrington Stanley Twitter page throughout Friday I was expecting the worst possible news to come at some point. The plan was to drive from Leeds to the game with my brother, his 2 friends (one a Leeds fan, one a Forest) and my step Brother. For 3 of our quadruplet group this would be their first time attending a Scunthorpe match live, although 2 of them got a taster of what was to come when we played infront of the Sky cameras against Fleetwood only a few weeks prior. We would be celebrating my brother Evan’s birthday who turned 17 on the Saturday, so for him it was a perfect chance to get a cheeky early birthday present!
5 O’clock arrived and the game was still on to the relief of us all, so we set off to the game with our thick jackets and umbrellas at the ready, for there is NO roof on the away terrace in Accrington. At this point I don’t think any of us would have cared about getting a little wet if the Iron played well and got the result we so desperately needed.
We arrived into Accrington about 50 minutes before kick off and found a perfect parking spot right outside the away end, result! It was damp and a little bit nippy but there was no rain for the time being, so we hurried into the away end of the First Store Stadium and eagerly awaited kick off.
It was an unchanged side from the one whom had gained a point against Chesterfield the week before. Sam Slocombe started in goal with a back four of Eddie Nolan, Niall Canavan, Dave Mirfin & Christian Ribeiro. The midfield consisted of Marcus Williams, Dave Syers, Sean McAllister and Terry Hawkridge whilst Paddy Madden gained his second start alongside top scorer Sam Winnall.
Although we started slowly we got the first real chance of the game when Eddie Nolan lifted a ball into the area which Niall Canavan failed to get any real contact on and made it easy for the Stanley keeper – Marcus ‘I take 10 minutes to take every goal kick‘ Bettineli.
Stanley took the lead when we lost the ball in midfield which gave Bowerman the chance to square it to Molyneux who seemed to scuff it, and although it seemed to take an age to hit the back of the net, hit the back of the net it did. 1-0 down at Accrington.. WHO?!
After they opened the scoring I kind of expected a reaction from the Iron players but sadly this reaction was nowhere to be seen, and 5 minutes before half time we were 2 down. Great. This time Stanley had capitalised on a lucky bounce off Syers leg before then getting another deflection on the shot before it hit the back of the net.
Although we had been uninspiring I thought 2-0 was very harsh indeed, they had probably done enough to warrant a 1 goal lead.
Just before half time the rain had begun to pour to kick the Iron fans royally in the nuts whilst we were down. I mean thanks mother nature, it’s not as if we were going through enough crap on the pitch was it?!
Thankfully though at half time the Accrington PA announced that we could move under the cover of one of the side stands, so about 70% of our fans moved ready for the Second half.
I can honestly say I thought we were dead and buried before we’d even kick a ball in the second period so I wasn’t too excited as the players reappeared.
Russ had decided to bring Hawkridge off and Ribeiro too. He brought on McSheffrey and Adelakun which meant moving Williams to left back and McSheffrey onto the left wing. These were positive substitutions but would it be enough to turn the game on it’s head..
5 minutes into the half and the urgency which was transparent in the first period was there, we were pressing high and looked dangerous on every attack. In the 51st minute a great little move started by Paddy Madden was finished by Sam Winnall. 2-1 and the game was back on, maybe Stanley would fall apart now we’d gotten 1 back?
After another 9 minutes of pressure from Scunny we grabbed an equaliser when Adelakun received the ball to right of the edge of the area. He finished superbly and the Iron fans went nuts, we’d pulled level so early in the second half and there was now plenty of time to go for the winner. The introduction of McSheffrey and Adelakun was a masterclass from Wilcox, we looked a completely different team.
For the next 30 minutes we were left frustrated by a crap referee and an even worse linesman. Bettineli the Stanley keeper took as long as he wanted with every kick without so much as a warning and time started to fade away. Accrington got forward on the odd occasion but never really looked like nicking it themselves.
The fourth official lifted his board to show fans that there was 2 minutes added on. I went nuts, 2 bloody minutes! Are you joking me?! Their keeper wasted 30 seconds every goal kick how was 2 minutes even possible?! T*sser!!
We got a free kick on half way in the first minute. Still angry from the added on time decision I didn’t realise how much of an opportunity this would be. McSheffrey swung in an absolute peach (his crossing from set pieces was fantastic all evening.) and there was superstar David Mirfin to nod in the winner. We only had to last a minute, this was going to be our first win for 4 frustrating games! WOOOOOOO!
After one last huff and a very good opportunity for Accrington the referee blew up (I wish literally) and the game was over. Up the bloody Iron! What a way to spend Valentines day!
We drove home to the sound of Queens ‘We are the Champions’. I won’t forget that night in a hurry.