Akbar goal earns point

Last updated : 06 May 2006 By Tony Scholes
Ali Akbar - scored the Burnley goal
Summer football had finally arrived as we arrived at Accrington in warm sunny weather to see the Football League's newest ground looking a bit worse for wear. The side opposite the stand, with hoardings down, looked derelict whilst the Blackpool donkeys would have been at home on the pitch that was dry as a bone and contained more sand than the holiday resort's beach.

It was hardly the conditions for a good match but the two teams did well enough to give the sixty or so spectators an enjoyable ninety minutes, enhanced by the running debate between the Chester bench and the match officials, particularly coach Joe Hinnigan and referee Waugh.

The Clarets had the better of the first half and the visitors were thankful to goalkeeper Ryan Brookfield for keeping them level. He made a series of good saves, one in particular to deny Adam Kay was outstanding.

When the deadlock was broken it was at the other end when the pitch appeared to play a part as the ball escaped both defender Tom Bradley and goalkeeper Mark Crossley and nestled into the net. It looked a particular bad bounce that caused the problems.

Just two minutes before the interval though we had a great chance to level things when Brookfield brought down Cayne Hanley, leaving the referee with no alternative but to point to the spot.

Kay looked set to take it but Hanley claimed the ball from him. He never looked confident, hardly took a run and his kick was poor enabling the keeper to save to his left in what was the last of the action in the first half.

It was to be Hanley's last piece of the action, he didn't return for the second half and was replaced by Lewis Craig. And it was a second half that we dominated although it took us until less than ten minutes from the end before we snatched a more than deserved equaliser.

It was a good goal too as Dale Underwood, on as a sub, got down the right before playing a ball into Rob Turner on the right hand side of the box. Turner turned well and laid the ball off for Ali Akbar who made no mistake.
We looked set to go on and win it but Chester kept us out and in doing so kept their place one point above us in the final league table.

There were many positives in the Burnley side and at times it was difficult to realise just how young some of the players on the field were, and how little experience they had, particularly the two in the centre of defence Ben Hoskin and Tom Bradley.

It's been a difficult season at times, with such a small first team squad we have had to turn out some very young teams. But many of them will have benefited and learned from that and that can only be good news in the long term. And finally for those players we were seeing for the last time tonight, our best wishes to them as they move on hopefully to new clubs.
Tonight's teams were:

Burnley: Mark Crossley, Rob Henry, Ben Hoskin, Tom Bradley, Paul Casey, Nicky Platt, Connor Smith (Alex-Ray Harvey), Adam Kay (Dale Underwood), Ali Akbar, Cayne Hanley (Lewis Craig), Rob Turner. Sub not used: Dean Stott.

Chester: Ryan Brookfield, Nathan Humphreys, Shaun Kelly, Kevin Roberts, Jack Rowlands, James Owen, Kieran Morrin, Mark Cadwallader, Paul McManus, Chris Holroyd, Adam Wade. Subs: S Thorpe, C Vernon, G Feliciello, S Ali, S Newton.