Ten-man Stan­ley suf­fer late heartache

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By James Gray

STEVE­NAGE manager Gra­ham West­ley dis­missed the myth it’s an ad­van­tage play­ing against ten men af­ter his side failed to beat Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley, who played 88 min­utes a man down.

Boro missed a golden op­por­tu­nity to take an­other huge step to­wards the League Two play-offs af­ter Nicky Hunt was sent off 90 sec­onds into pro­ceed­ings at the Store First Sta­dium.

A late Chris Beard­s­ley goal sal­vaged a point for the away side, but West­ley was adamant that play­ing a man up is just as hard as play­ing 11 against 11.

“Ten men is a myth, we all know that,” said West­ley.

“It takes one player to put the ball in the net and we know that teams with ten can of­ten re­act with steely, determined, gritty per­for­mances.

“Our front six was bet­ter than their back six. The two goals we scored says that, but I think their front three was bet­ter than our back four – we ought to have done bet­ter de­fen­sively.

“It was an af­ter­noon where they worked very hard, it was a dif­fi­cult pitch to be con­struc­tive on, and they had two banks of four, and pace and qual­ity on the counter attack.”

Ac­cring­ton had started dis­as­trously when Nicky Hunt was dis­missed for grab­bing Steve­nage striker Char­lie Lee round the throat.

But de­spite be­ing out- num­bered Stan­ley took the lead, Josh Win­dass bril­liantly beat­ing his man be­fore find­ing Sean Maguire who fin­ished neatly.

Four min­utes later though, Tom Pett’s cross struck a Lloyd Jones flail­ing arm and Simon Wal­ton lev­elled from the penalty spot for his fifth goal of the sea­son.

How­ever, West Ham loa­nee Maguire con­tin­ued to be a con­stant thorn in Steve­nage’s side, latch­ing onto the end of a neat Luke Joyce pass to give Stan­ley a half-time lead.

Steve­nage showed far more life af­ter the break, and Stan­ley’s re­silience was cru­elly un­done right at the end, as Beard­s­ley stabbed home a Bira Dem­bele knock­down from a yard.

De­spite the late goal, Ac­cring­ton boss John Cole­man was de­lighted with the way his play­ers had ap­plied them­selves, but re­mained baf­fled by Hunt’s dis­missal.

“I didn’t see the in­ci­dent,” said Cole­man.

“But any­one who knows Nicky knows he isn’t a vi­o­lent per­son.

“He is an ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sional and he’s not go­ing to punch some­one 90 sec­onds into a game.

“We were fan­tas­tic. We’ve got play­ers com­ing off telling us we were the bet­ter team by miles and play­ers tend not to lie.

“I’m just dis­ap­pointed we couldn’t hang on for the win.”

STAR MAN SEAN MAGUI

RE Ac­cring

ton

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