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Match Reports

Report: Accrington 1-2 Wycombe

Samuel wins it at the death.

27 November 2018

Wanderers came from behind to make it three league wins from four with a fantastic 2-1 triumph at Accrington on Tuesday night.

Sean McConville put the hosts in front and they could have been further ahead were it not for the heroics of David Stockdale in the Wycombe net.

But they had heroes at the other end too, and after Scott Kashket levelled matters with a clever finish, Alex Samuel smashed home as the clock struck 90 to rack up a first away win since August which lifts the Blues into 10th place.

Gareth Ainsworth made two changes to the side that started in the 3-2 win over Shrewsbury on Saturday, calling Michael Harriman into the team for his 150th appearance for the Chairboys, while Craig Mackail-Smith was also handed a start as Joe Jacobson and Nathan Tyson dropped to the bench.

Accrington looked to play a possession game in the early changes without ever threatening the visitors’ penalty area, while the Blues had a higher tempo to their attacking endeavours, carving open a chance when Mackail-Smith’s dangerous cross flashed across goal and was cleared in the nick of time ahead of the onrushing Fred Onyedinma.

Wanderers’ high-press was effective, prompting Stanley into mistakes, and Mark Hughes’ ill judgment of Nick Freeman’s header over the backline almost presented a chance for Mackail-Smith, but his attempt to loft the ball over the stranded Connor Ripley was thwarted as the keeper recovered in time.

Sam Finley headed harmlessly over the bar with the hosts’ first chance on 13 minutes, but their opener owed a great deal to a fortunate ricochet when Billy Kee’s powerful drive from the edge of the area deflected into the path of Sean McConville, who stayed onside to poke home. The move had started with a clever passage of play from Dan Barlaser inside the Stanley box, with Jordan Clark also involved as he cut in from the right wing to present the chance for Kee.

Nick Freeman drilled a low shot on target on 25 minutes, though Ripley was equal to it, saving down to his left as Wanderers looked for a response, maintaining a threat with a quick-paced approach whenever they could seize possession.

David Stockdale made a fine save from Sam Finley’s swerving effort from distance, and followed it with another from Billy Kee’s snapshot as Stanley stepped on the gas around the half-hour mark, but Wanderers came close themselves, working the ball neatly to Jason McCarthy on the right wing, and his pass to Mackail-Smith saw the striker turn away from his man but lash over the bar with his left foot from 15 yards.

Stanley’s biggest threat came with Dan Barlaser playing the quarterback role, dropping deep to receive the ball as Wycombe pressed high, and releasing long raking passes into space down the flanks. It worked for the opening goal, and gave Jordan Clark a sight at goal before he was bundled over for a free-kick with McConville curled wide of the near post.

Then Billy Kee volleyed stylishly against the underside of the bar with a first-time shot from a superb cross from the right, as the hosts began to count themselves unlucky not to have been further ahead having carved out a number of decent opportunities.

That said, it hadn’t been a bad half from Wycombe, though the end product was lacking to make their creativity pay off, with Freeman and Onyedinma often running into dead ends as they bore down on goal.

There was time for one more excellent Stockdale save – tipping away another McConville free-kick – before the referee called time on the first half with Wanderers trailing 1-0.

The beginning of the second period will have given Wycombe encouragement as they held the upper hand in terms of possession in the middle third, taking a more patient approach with their play.

That said, there were no real chances for either side, though the Blues’ belief that they could find an equaliser would have risen with Stanley beginning to look wasteful in possession and lacking the spark that saw them threaten on a number of occasions before the interval.

Gareth Ainsworth introduced Nathan Tyson and Scott Kashket from the bench on 65 minutes with Freeman and Mackail-Smith making way, and Kashket almost had a sight of goal straight away, darting into the box but being denied by a crunching but well-timed challenge as he cut onto his left foot.

Then the game gathered pace with Stockdale making a comfortable save from Sam Finlay’s header before sparking an attack with a quick clearance, before Bryn Morris was called into action from the bench in place of Curtis Thompson.

And the equaliser arrived shortly afterwards. Wycombe moved the ball well across their backline and found Dom Gape in enough space for the midfielder to dink a dangerous cross towards the penalty spot. Knowing he had no chance of winning the header, Scott Kashket positioned himself well enough to meet the ball on the turn as it landed and drilled home to give the keeper no chance.

Accrington responded immediately, introducing striker Offrande Zanzala from the bench in place of captain Seamus Conneely, and they came close to retaking the lead in the scrappiest style, with Zanzala’s looping header across goal being turned goalwards by Kee, but it rebounded onto the line and Stockdale landed safely on top.

Stockdale was called upon again to make an excellent save from McConville’s curling free-kick on 88 minutes, before he launched a missile downfield which resulted with the ball hitting the Stanley net. Nathan Tyson’s ball to the wing looked too heavy for Alex Samuel, but the striker kept it alive to whip in a dangerous low cross which bounced back out to him, and he lashed it home from a tight angle to secure all three points in style.

There were three nervy minutes to hold on, but the Blues did that, and end their six-year wait for a victory in these parts.

Attendance: 1,740 (190 from Wycombe)

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