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18 November 2017 Venue Wham Stadium Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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REPORT| Nouble strikes in draw at Accrington Stanley

18 November 2017

A late goal from Accrington substitute Mallik Wilks ensured County had to leave the Wham Stadium with just a point after a 1-1 draw against Accrington Stanley.

Both goals came after a relatively low-key opening 45 minutes, neither side creating any decent opportunities, as it was more a defensive battle in the first-half.

But Nouble, who had looked menacing throughout that opening half, made sure that the spell of few chances didn’t transpire into the second-half, scoring just two minutes after the break.

It was a textbook corner tactic from the Exiles, something they have tried a few times already this season, with Nouble expertly guiding the Willmott drilled pass into the top corner from the edge of the area.

From that moment on Stanley really took control of the ascendency, forcing Day into several top-draw saves, but the resistance was finally broken with just two minutes to go. 

Wilks was the man to get it, smashing through a crowded area after Day had superbly denied the original two efforts of a clever Accrington attack.

Mike Flynn elected to make two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Port Vale at Rodney Parade last week.

That saw Matty Dolan miss out through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against the Valiants, as Scot Bennett returned to the midfield.

Padraig Amond also came into the starting eleven, partnering Frank Nouble up-front in the traditional 3-5-2 system as Shawn McCoulsky made way for the Irishman.

Accrington manager John Coleman also made two changes to his side that last played on Tuesday night when they suffered a shock Emirates FA Cup exit to National League Guiseley.

It was a double swap in midfield for Stanley as Erico Sousa missed out completely from the matchday squad and Liam Nolan dropped to the bench.

Jordan Clark and Callum Johnson came back into the side as the home team kept to their familiar 4-4-2 formation.

And Nouble would come agonisingly close to giving County the lead within the opening 60 seconds.

Ben Tozer superbly flicked on a Mickey Demetriou throw-in into Nouble’s path, only for Mark Hughes to get something in the way of the shot and divert it wide of the front post.

Everything was falling the way of Nouble in the opening 10 minutes, clearly the target of every County delivery in the area, forcing a good save from goalkeeper Aaron Chapman with a header back across the goal.

Accrington’s home support didn’t have to wait too much longer for their side to create an opening opportunity of the afternoon on 14 minutes.

It was the result of a move straight from the training ground as Sean McConville played a clever corner routine into Billy Kee’s path on the edge of the area, as Mark O’Brien had to react quickly to thwart any potential danger.

That was all for the entertainment in the opening 25 minutes, both sides having decent spell in possession, if not creating many opportunities to test the two goalkeepers.

Ben White was certainly enjoying his chance to burst out from the defence and attack the Stanley defence, surpassing 40 yards on at least five separate occasions, although couldn’t find that splitting pass to get the strikers in on goal.

Joe Day was penalised for a foul on Accrington striker Kayden Jackson on 28 minutes, although correctly avoided a booking as Jackson was somewhat drifting away from goal.

Jackson was involved again on the half-hour, although couldn’t direct his attempt goal wards with what was realistically the first real sight at goal for either side.

And despite the indication of one additional minute, no further chances could be mustered by either side as the first half ended goalless.

Robbie Willmott had two half chances for the Exiles with strikes from 35+ yards but other than that, Chapman would have been happy with the exploits from his defence in the opening 45 minutes.

Day would also have been pleased with the County defence, a real defensive battle ensuing at the Wham Stadium, with just the one opportunity of note from either side.

White and Nouble were the stand-out players from a County perspective, providing constant problems across the pitch, with Nouble perhaps unlucky not to get any sights at goal.

But it was almost written in the stars that he would get a chance and just two minutes into the second-half, Nouble curled home superbly to give the Exiles the lead.

It was a carbon-copy of what Accrington had tried to do in the first-half, with Robbie Willmott playing the corner low to the edge-of-the-area for Nouble to expertly guide it into the top corner.

The goal unsurprisingly sparked the home side into action, having a succession of corners, eight in all for the opening 57 minutes, although the County defence were superbly controlling the deliveries.

Day was, however, forced into a stunning save just after the hour as Accrington continued to increase the pressure.

Jackson played a ball across the goal that Pipe could only hook into the path of Jordan Clark, with Day, who was on the floor at the time, somehow blocking the effort with his leg.

But on the counter-attack, County almost doubled their advantage as Chapman almost spilt the ball over the goal-line.

White had launched a long ball that Willmott managed to keep in on the far right-side, before unleashing a speculative effort towards Chapman, who could only palm it against his own post and grab before it went over the line.

Coleman threw on Mekhi McLeod as his first substitution of the afternoon and he was almost instantly involved, heading across the area to Kee who rattled one off the crossbar.

Sean Rigg came on for County’s first substitution, in place of Amond with 18 minutes to go, leaving Nouble as the sole attacker for the Exiles.

But County could only hold on for so long against a resurgent Accrington and substitute Mallik Wilks got the equaliser with just two minutes remaining.

It came following a long spell in the County area, Day superbly saving the first two Stanley attempts, only for Wilks to eventually smash through Mark O’Brien on the line.

O’Brien was forced off at the start of the five additional minutes, as Accrington continued to pile forward in search of an equaliser.

But the County rear-guard stood firm to get a deserved point from their trip to Lancashire, ensuring they maintain their history of being unbeaten away at Accrington Stanley.

 

County: Day, Pipe, O’Brien (C) (Owen-Evans 90’), Demetriou, White, Butler, Tozer, Willmott, Bennett, Nouble (Jackson 87’), Amond (Rigg 74’)

Subs not used: Bittner, Reynolds, McCoulsky, Quigley

 

Accrington: Chapman, Donacien, Richards-Everton, Hughes, Thorniley (Wilks 79’), Clark (McLeod 69’), Brown, Conneely, Johnson, McConville (C), Jackson, Kee

Subs not used: Stryjek, Nolan, Mohammed, Rawson, Watson

 

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Attendance: 1,371 (183 Away)

Next up for County: Barnet (21st November) HOME

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