City crashed out of the EFL Cup on penalties, thus missing out on a trip to Brentford in the third round (of particular irritation to your writer for whom it’s ten minutes door to door to Brentford’s new ground), and worryingly having started the season in such prolific form have now failed to find the net in two matches. Matt Taylor is expected to be back in the dugout for the long trip to Accrington having missed the Gillingham defeat on new father duties, while there is finally a new signing, in the shape of loanee Rekeem Harper, to augment the squad. Jevani Brown withdrew from Jamaica duty and will also be available for the Accrington match while Pierce Sweeney limped out on Tuesday night so may be doubtful.
If you were to write a phrasebook around Football cliches, the one “confounded the pundits” will generally have a picture of John Coleman’s Accrington Stanley alongside it. Arguably one of the smallest sides in the league, indeed most National League sides probably consider themselves bigger, Stanley are now in their fifth season in the third tier and, despite usually being tipped for the drop, show no signs of getting involved at the bottom of the league. Their own slightly misplaced epithet “the club that wouldn’t die” could be applied to their performances this season where late goals have been a consistent feature – starting on the opening day against Charlton where they scored an equaliser at around the time Charlotte Green was (at the time) reading the results on the radio. Similarly against Burton they were 2-4 down when the fourth official raised the board to signal the amount of injury time to be played, only to draw 4-4. Coleman’s side remain unbeaten in all competitions (like City they lost on penalties in the EFL Cup, 11-12 to Tranmere in the first round). The undoubted one to watch, as has been the case for several seasons, is Sean McConville, who already has three league goals.
Despite Accrington going up in 2018 while City were beaten playoff finalists, it was City who had the upper hand in the fixtures between the sides. The corresponding fixture finished 1-1, Stockley’s opener cancelled out by Jackson, while City were victorious at the Park 2-0 through Boateng and a late Sweeney penalty. That win extended City’s lead in league head to heads to 11-7, while that draw was just the second in this fixture.
The match officials for this game are:-
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Assistant Referees: Mark Cunliffe and Blake Antrobus
Fourth Official : Simon Clayton
Sebastian Stockbridge last refereed Exeter City in April when the Grecians won 2-0 at Oldham. He was also in charge last August when he sent Harry Kite off at Harrogate.