It’s about time that, in the words of Marvellous Marvin, we tangled with Accrington and it’s a good time to be playing them as we’re in great form and they’ve lost three out of their last four. Our Wembley win has brought great joy to all of us and it showed how one moment of quality can win a game. Will we ever find out the real reasons behind McGeady not being played last season? If he had played, I’m pretty sure we would’ve got promoted. Anyway, that’s academic now and with several of our rivals losing last night we could move up to third spot if we draw this evening. With Sanderson available again I think we should be able to get three points today. Despite the fact that we’re short on recognised defenders, we’ve been letting next to no goals in lately and Flanagan’s injury shouldn’t affect us too much. The unity in the side is clear to see these days and they’re not likely to start getting above themselves so they won’t think three points is theirs by right tonight. If the report I read online yesterday is true, Accrington will be without five first choice players so that can only be to our advantage. If things are going smoothly by the hour-mark, it would be great to see Kimpioka and/or Stewart coming on. I’ll be watching the match in my bubble and my prediction is a 3-1 win.
I got to the bubble early in order to enjoy a Chinese takeaway and was pleased at the variation in our starting line-up with Sanderson, Diamond, Winchester and Vokins coming in. Jones was still injured and Kimpioka was nowhere to be seen but, as usual these days, our bench was looking strong.
The pitch was looking well rough and was sure to become rougher. There was a minute’s applause for Steve Jagielka and then we were off. We did most of the pressing in the opening stages and there was little in the way of attacking play apart fro a weak Gooch cross/shot that Savin in goal easily dealt with. One of my fellow-bubblers pointed out that Savin’s strip was very similar to ours so I hoped nobody would pass to him. The first fifteen minutes were scrappy and both Diamond and McGeady hadn’t been involved much but the pitch wasn’t conducive to delicate ball-play. Accrington won the game’s first corner a few minutes later and there was a bit of a kerfuffle till we won a free-kick when Sanderson was fouled. We won a free-kick in a good spot when Nottingham fouled McGeady, getting yellow-carded in the process, but Savin collected it without any sweat. We came to life on the half-way mark with a Diamond shot on target and then McGeady jinking his way into their box but it ended in a free-kick to them. O’Nien then gave away a kick at the left angle of our box but we got it clear. We won our first corner just before the half-hour but meanwhile Sanderson went down injured. He managed to carry on and we won another corner almost immediately from which there was nearly an own-goal but it went for a third corner. That resulted in Gooch putting in a piledriver that went not far over. I felt a goal was soon coming and we won another corner but from that despite us putting a couple of shots on target it was Accrington who had the best scoring opportunity. When the ball broke upfield, Smyth was rapidly bearing down on Burge with only Vokins back but thankfully the latter did enough to put him off and his shot went wide. We were letting Accrington have plenty of the ball. O’Nien had plenty of space to put us ahead five minutes before the break but he headed well wide. It’s hard to get annoyed with Luke, though. Gooch was booked as we entered stoppage-time and from the free-kick Burgess headed narrowly wide. They’d had some very good chances but we’d got away so far. This had been underwhelming but a dirty win again would do for me.
When we kicked off again, Stewart had come on for his debut with Diamond making way. Within a minute we’d had a great chance when from a McGeady free-kick Stewart headed just over- not a bad first minute. Accrington went close themselves shortly afterwards and it continued to go end to end for the next ten minutes. McGeady was booked for kicking the ball away, which was a daft thing for him to do. Stewart was looking big and powerful and... just as I typed that he put us ahead in the sixty-second minute with a great looping header that Savin tried but failed to reach. The game was getting feisty and with four players on yellows a red didn’t look unlikely. With a quarter of the game left we brought on Scowen for McGeady and I wouldn’t like to have seen Aiden get a second yellow which was a possibility. With twelve minutes on the clock Accrington made a double-change and we were looking pretty solid. I wanted to see Maguire come on for a cameo but was happy to see Leadbitter arrive five minutes from time as he’s usually a stabilising influence. Next thing we were two up and it was Wyke again, heading it down and in from a Power corner. McFadzean and Maguire replaced Vokins and Wyke in the dying stages and why not? I love this five subs business. There were four minutes of stoppage-time but the win was well in the bag before the whistle went.
Not a great display by any means but yet another win and yet another clean sheet so we’re up to third place. Stewart looked impressive on his much-delayed debut and Winchester’s looking classy. I’ll leave the situation regarding current leaders Hull with my fellow-bubbler i.e. “Five points behind, two games in hand we’ve gotta play the fuckers.” Who could argue with that?