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Club News

FOCUS ON ACCRINGTON

22 October 2013

A look at tonight's opposition

Bristol Rovers will be hoping that tonight, in the words of local band Stackridge, they can “Do the Stanley”.

A visit to the club rooted to the bottom of the table should provide Rovers their best chance of securing their first away win of the season and their first win in nine games. Accrington have secured just 4 points from the 12 games this season with 2 draws at home and 2 draws away.

On Saturday high flying Oxford United visited the Crown Ground hoping to secure top spot after Chesterfield went down 2-0 to Burton Albion. Oxford survived a late Accrington onslaught, Kal Naismith's first-half shot was saved by Oxford's former Gas player Ryan Clarke, before James Constable's header almost put the visitors ahead. 

Hosts Stanley enjoyed the better of the first half before the U’s hit back after the break and were only denied by a super show from on-loan goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli as he kept out Dave Kitson, Sean Rigg and Michael Rayne. 

Dave Kitson nodded wide of the post after the break before James Beattie's Accrington pushed for a late winner. Clarke almost fumbled a cross over his own line, but easily dealt with Lee Naylor's free-kick in stoppage time. 

Talking after the game Stanley manager James Beattie said, "I'm very happy with a point. We had chances to win the game, but we would have taken a point before it.

"Oxford are a very good side and I can see them causing a lot of problems for a lot of teams in this league. We were very good today, looked a lot more solid, and our shape was better. The lads are disappointed, which is a great sign for me.

“We have drawn three out of the last four and, if we keep turning in performances like that, we will get our first win and more will follow. I've seen teams that have been bottom of the league before and they don't carry themselves like that.

 "If we show that commitment and desire we won't be at the bottom much longer. I believe in the set of lads who are in there," added Beattie.

"It's easy for me to come on and say the same things and people keep saying to me 'why is he being so positive about the team?' They are walking around with their chests out, wearing the crest of the club and they've done it very proud."

Rovers and Stanley have played one another 7 times before. The very first time was an FA Cup tie on 14 December 1929 at Eastville, the home team running out 4-1 winners. Four years later at the same stage Rovers visited Peel Park and came back out of the Cup, losing 1-0. 

Fast forward over 70 years before the rejuvenated Stanley were back into the League after their 1961 demise and visited Bristol once again.

The very first league meeting again took place in December 23 2006. Once again Rovers hit 4 goals but this time Stanley were scoreless. The return game in Lancashire on 6 March ended in a 1-1 tie.

When Rovers visited the Crown Stadium on 5 November 2011 little did Paul Buckle realise that it was to be the start of fireworks for him. A defeat that day was the beginning of a run of 8 games during which Rovers were to pick up just 2 points and culminated in his sacking.

Stanley were in a poor run of form and were looking for their first league victory in six but their nerves were allayed when they took the lead after just five minutes.

Micah Richard, making his debut on loan from Blackburn, was given too much space and ran past three players before beating Scott Bevan at his near post.

Accrington's second goal came after 30 minutes, when they home side were again given far too much time and space. Kevin Long got on the end of Peter Murphy's free kick and volleyed it into the far top corner from the edge of the box.

Rovers got themselves back in the game with a goal early in the second half, with their first real shot on target. Carayol made a great run down the wing before putting in a quality delivery along the floor to Anyinsah.

The winger hit the ball low and hard and into the back of the net. Despite having more of the ball Rovers were unable to breach the Stanley defence and returned from Lancashire pointless.

Rovers finished their 2011-12 home programme with a flourish as they disposed of Stanley with a 5-1 victory. Last season Rovers lost both games  1-0.

Stanley have signed former Walsall striker George Bowerman on a deal until the end of the season.  The 21-year-old impressed on trial with the Reds after leaving Skrill Premier side Woking.

He made 33 appearances for Walsall last season and was recently close to a deal with St Johnstone, after a trial at Cheltenham in the summer. 

“I’m delighted,” said Beattie. “George has scored goals in League One so we’re pleased to have him on board. Hopefully he can add some firepower to the strike force, his movement is excellent and he passes the ball into the net, he’s very precise with his finishing and very rarely blasts the ball. He shows the composure and quality in front of goal that we have been lacking in recent weeks.” 

Bowerman should make his debut in tonight’s game, meanwhile defender Rob Atkinson (hamstring) is set to miss out, while Luke Clark and James Caton are injured. 

Written by Gerry Prewett.


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