STANLEY PROMPT OLYMPIC DREAMS
ACCRINGTON STANLEY had the perfect tune-up for their trip to the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday by halting in-form Portsmouth.
Stanley face West Ham United in the EFL Cup third round in midweek and manager John Coleman will be hoping this win gives his side the confidence to go and cause an upset.
The only goal of the game came early in the second half when Paddy Lacey, who was making his first start of the season, crashed home a wonderful strike from 25 yards out.
Pompey, who were on the back of four consecutive victories, struggled to create any clear-cut chances and the quality of service into striker Michael Smith was poor all afternoon.
Gary Roberts had their best chance after just three minutes, a deep cross finding him at the back post where he neatly brought the ball down but slid it just wide of Aaron Chapman’s upright.
“It’s as lacklustre a performance as we’ve had all season. We never created good chances, we never got going,” said Pompey manager Paul Cook.
“Give Accrington credit. I can come here and say how bad we were, but we couldn’t break them down. We weren’t good enough.
“It’s easy to come out and slag off this, that and the other but we have been in football long enough to know that there are no easy games.
“We’ve just won four games on the bounce but we always know what is around the corner, and unfortunately that came.”
Stanley had a couple of chances late on to extend their lead, but Christian Burgess cleared Jordan Clark’s goal-bound effort after the Stanley man had dummied his way into the box. And the dangerous Sean McConville curled an effort wide of David Forde’s left-hand post with just minutes left on the clock.
“I didn’t really enjoy it, it wasn’t a good game,” said Accrington manager John Coleman. “Both teams cancelled each other out.
“We had some words at half-time and said we needed to be more of an attacking threat. In the second half we probably just shaded it but it was a very bitty and scrappy game, with loads of fouls and niggles.
“It was going to take a moment of magic and thankfully that moment of magic came from us. We class ourselves fortunate that Gary Roberts missed that chance early on.”
With Plymouth beating Exeter in the Devon derby to give themselves breathing space at the top of League Two, Pompey will be looking to bounce back and heap the pressure on when they host Barnet next week.
Stanley have their trip to the Olympic Stadium to look forward to on Wednesday and, with the Hammers losing again at West Brom yesterday, it could be the perfect time for a trip to London.
STAR MAN SEAN MCCONVILLE Accrington LACE UP: Paddy Lacey celebrates his goal with the bench. Inset: Lacey converts