Report: Exeter City 0 Accrington 1
Exeter City’s fell to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Accrington Stanley at St James Park.
A fairly open first half saw Danny Coles and Stanley’s James Gray produced efforts on target, but it was the away side that took the lead in stoppage time – Kayode Odejayi taking the plaudits after forcing the ball cross the line at the end of a goalmouth scramble.
Try as they might the Grecians couldn’t find a route back into the game in the second half; James Beattie’s side leaving with a vital three points in their quest to avoid the drop.
On the back of two successive Sky Bet League 2 victories, Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale named an unchanged starting line-up for the third game in a row as James Beattie brought his Accrington Stanley side to St James Park. Beattie, without left-back Laurence Wilson and with Marcus Carver no nearer to a return, also fielded the same XI as in their previous game, Tuesday’s goalless draw at Dagenham & Redbridge.
It took seven minutes for Exeter to create the game’s first half-chance, as Eliot Richards’ shot from just inside the penalty area was blocked by Stanley’s Dean Winnard. Young Jordan Moore-Taylor’s defensive credentials were put to the test as he had to outmuscle James Gray on a potential Stanley break after eleven minutes, shortly before Will Hatfield turned well to create the space to fire over.
Artur Krysiak just about recovered from his error as he under-estimated the trajectory of Lee Molyneux’s free-kick, the Exeter City keeper just getting his fingers to the ball before Danny Coles cleared. Things turned a little unsavoury as Craig Woodman and former Bolton man Nicky Hunt clashed after eighteen minutes, but both escaped with just a telling-off from referee Oliver Langford.
City captain Danny Coles headed Scot Bennett’s flick-on goalwards for Marcus Bettinelli to make the save, before Lee Molyneux struck low and wide of Artur Krysiak’s left-hand post on the half-hour. Coles was back to his defensive duties as he blocked from James Gray, the former Middlesbrough youth player giving a passionate performance for Stanley, to put it politely. Krysiak collected after Moore-Taylor blocked a Hatfield effort on 40 minutes.
Gray might have done better when he shot straight at Krysiak with two minutes of first-half normal time left to play, but his strike partner Odejayi did better with Stanley’s next effort, scrambling the ball home at the conclusion of some chaotic goalmouth action. It was not the sort of well-taken goal that Paul Tisdale would have preferred to see his side concede.
Half-time: Exeter City 0 Accrington Stanley 1
A strong opening to the second half saw Eliot Richards force a corner from which Danny Butterfield’s cross was headed narrowly over by Moore-Taylor. Down the other end, Moore-Taylor must have had a moment of panic as his back-header looped over Krysiak, the Exeter City goalkeeper forced to hurl himself back towards his goal in order to push the ball out of danger.
Piero Mingoia replaced Will Hatfield on 53 minutes as James Beattie made the game’s first substitution. Some strong attacking play from Liam Sercombe allowed Scot Bennett to strike wide of goal, before the combined efforts of Tom Nichols and Eliot Richards couldn’t bring a save out of Bettinelli. Matt Grimes came on for Matt Gill on the hour.
In need of a goal, Paul Tisdale sent on two attackers for the final 20 minutes, with Sam Parkin and John O’Flynn on for Matt Oakley and Tom Nichols. Stanley’s joint-top scorer Peter Murphy shot hard and wide two minutes later. Sam Parkin headed Danny Butterfield’s cross as the game approached the final ten minutes, before scuffing Scot Bennett’s laydown three minutes later.
Josh Windass, son of Dean Windass, the former Bradford City and Hull City striker, replaced goalscorer Kayode Odejayi on 84 minutes. Bettinelli had to be brave to collect Sam Parkin’s header while under the close attention of Scot Bennett, shortly before Parkin was tugged just outside the area for an 89th-minute free-kick – what could have been a chance for a dramatic late equaliser went begging as Liam Sercombe curled the ball wildly over. That was it for City, as their brief winning streak came to an end.
Full-time: Exeter City 0 Accrington Stanley 1
Exeter City: Krysiak, Butterfield, Woodman, Bennett, Coles (capt), Sercombe, Oakley (Parkin), Richards, Moore-Taylor, Nichols (O’Flynn), Gill (Grimes).
Subs (not used): Pym, Baldwin, Davies, Wheeler.
Accrington Stanley: Bettinelli, Murphy, Joyce (capt), Aldred, Winnard, Hatfield (Mingoia), Molyneux, Hunt, Gray, Buxton, Odejayi (Windass).
Subs (not used): Liddle, Webber, Naismith, Atkinson, Bowerman.
Attendance: 3,354 (71 away)
Referee: O. Langford