|Aryn Williams was impressive in midfield|
In our first game since the pre-Christmas 4-0 win over Rochdale we managed to keep our good run of form going, but the three points certainly weren’t easily won. The three week break seemed to have generated a fair bit of rustiness and that was evident in the 1st half. Much of our play was scrappy and the best football was being played by the hosts.
We did take the lead during the first half and it was the in form boot of Jason Gilchrist that provided it. Shay McCartan attacked down the left wing, beating his man and getting the ball across. Steven Hewitt got in a snap shot which the keeper parried and Gilchrist was Johnny-on-the-spot to roll the ball home.
It should have been 2 only minutes later as McCartan was put free and clear but his shot was saved by the keeper when perhaps feeding Gilchrist in an open position would have been a better option. We were punished when Luke Conlan was harshly adjudged to have fouled on the left edge of our box. The resultant direct free kick found the far top corner giving the keeper no chance.
Although Stanley were playing well and forcing errors from the Clarets they were struggling to test Josh Cook in goal. Towards the end of the half we started to pick up but our efforts on goal were weak or wayward.
The 2nd half brought a change for the Clarets with Aryn Williams replacing fellow Antipodean Cameron Howieson in the middle of the park. The half continued much like the previous period, but as the game progressed our fitness levels seemed to provide us with the upper hand. Around 70 minutes in we made our increased play count. McCartan was again the main instigator as his run down the right wing and cross into the box was clipped in by the predatory Gilchrist for his 18th of the season.
Unfortunately his scoring the goal seemed to generate a cramp in his leg that led to him being replaced by schoolboy Lewis Nuttall. It didn’t take long for the sub to make an impact as we stepped up a gear. His dinked cross from the left into a crowded box was expertly taken down by McCartan who gave the keeper no chance from close range.
There was an almost instant reply from the hosts though as they won a corner on the left. It was whipped in and appeared to be misjudged by a defender at the near post. The ball hit Tom Anderson in the 6 yard box and fell to the feet of the Stanley centre half who stabbed home.
It was hope for Accrington, but that was soon extinguished as McCartan jinked into the box and drew a foul, winning the Clarets a spot kick. Hewitt stepped up and hammered it into the top left corner.
With time running down the game took on a sour note as the left sided Stanley centre half was injured in the left back position. He fell under challenge and in the tangle seriously hurt himself. There were fears it could have been his knee as he had just returned after a spell out following surgery. It now appears that it is a broken ankle and we hope he make a fast and full recovery.
To add insult to injury the Clarets added a 5th goal in time added on. Adam Evans danced into the box and deposited the keeper on the floor before virtually walking the ball home to give a final score of 5-2.
So despite the slightly under par performance we managed a win with a flattering scoreline. Special mention to Conlan who continues to impress at left back and Williams who showed shades of brother Rhys with an accomplished display in an unfamiliar midfield berth.
Team:- Josh Cook, Alex Coleman, Jack Errington, Tom Anderson, Luke Conlan, Alex Mullin, Adam Evans, Steven Hewitt, Cameron Howieson (Aryn Williams), Shay McCartan, Jason Gilchrist (Lewis Nuttall).
Subs not used:- Charlie Holt, Ben Woodhead.