Fan’s View – Accrington

Article by Paul Beasley Monday, October 21st, 2013  


I was in line. The team in red played a pass that split the yellow defence. It was a good ball but the forward in red had gone slightly too quickly and was in my opinion off-side. The linesman thought so too and immediately raised his flag. The referee did not look towards the linesman. The move continued and a few seconds later the reds had scored. The flag remained raised. As the teams trotted back towards the half way line the ref gave the linesman a cursory glance and dismissed the flag with a small shake of the head. He didn’t have a clue and didn’t appear to care. I like to see justice done so yelled “lino you were right.” The linesman then shouted “see” at the referee. The game continued.


Confused? We were playing in purple not yellow. This little scene wasn’t from Accrington v Oxford but from the game on the park pitch on Livingstone Road which provided alternative viewing when there was a lull in the activity on the Crown Ground.

Just goes to show the shocking standard of officials taking charge of football matches at all levels the length and breadth of the country. I keep thinking I’ve got to give them a chance. It’s a hard job. Blah blah blah. Then I watch Match of the Day and the Football League show. Howard Webb, supposedly our best referee misses a potential achilles snapping foul by Charlie Adam. That though was nothing when compared to the horror show put on by Mark Hayward and his sidekick in the Blackpool v Wigan game. MacKenzie’s arm crashes into McClean’s face. McClean is on the ground. MacKenzie stamps on McClean’s knee. McClean obviously reacts but hardly raises his hands in such fashion as to hint at even a thousandth of the damage he himself could have just suffered. The red card is shown to McClean. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

So I’ll make no comment on Carl Boyeson who took charge of our game but I will say that the standard isn’t very high is it?



Actually it wouldn’t have been that far from the truth if I’d referred to the whole first half as a lull. Playing with the same team and same formation as last Saturday meant that we had ditched the set up that had brought us tremendous success on our travels thus far. I don’t think it worked.

Accrington had a lot more of the ball than we did and in James Gray had a young lively show pony with an eye for a dive. For all their possession it wasn’t as if they were battering our goal. Ryan Clarke made one good save to his left and another decent effort went past his right hand post but that was about it.

We had a short spell just before the break when we kept the ball on the floor and had some chances ourselves but the game didn’t deserve a goal. So 0-0 it was at the break



This was nearly another game of two halves. Johnny Mullins didn’t want to go off. He thought the knock he took just before the break was not sufficient to stop him continuing. Chris Wilder said he wanted to save him for Tuesday night and decided it was. We didn’t really need three centre halves in this game did we but it would have been a brave man to have left any of the three out from the start.

So, on 47 minutes the second half began when Ryan Williams replaced Mullins. The game changed. The excitement level rose from just about non- existent to a little higher. Williams provided some excitement, we had much more controlled possession, Danny Rose became quite influential and chances were created. Marcus Bettinelli in the Stanley goal was rightly given their man of the match award as we stretched him but not by quite enough.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though as Clarke managed to drop a high ball and a free-kick on the edge of the box right at the end which gratefully ended up in his arms.

If either side deserved the win it was probably us for that second half display but I wish we could have been a little more creative. Even with Johnny Mullins off, Tom Newey and David Hunt (I find it hard to tell them apart) were pushed well forward as the game was largely played in the Accy half and saw a fair bit of space and the ball. It’s not their fault that they are what they are.


Am I? I’m perhaps disappointed in myself for not being as disappointed as I should be that we didn’t beat the team at the bottom. When pushed for a result before the off I went for 1-1. They had not beaten us in eight attempts since we got back in the League, we were unbeaten away, they had not won a League game, and by all accounts recently they had been playing quite well with no reward – so it was all going to go wrong as we fell for the old banana skin trick. Meaning that a draw wasn’t too bad, but whilst the opposition’s true position might not be as poor as their rock bottom location indicates it’s not far off.

Back to the subject of creativity. What wouldn’t any team in our division and possibly the one above give for a fit Peter Leven?
I missed it but he was on Radio Oxford on Saturday lunch time. He is only 30 years old but no longer plays professional football. His knees are shot. He was told to pack up playing when he was 17 because he had bad knees. He didn’t pack up then. Because of his bad knees he wasn’t able to train properly. Because he wasn’t able to train properly he carried too much weight. How little we know when we make comment on the terraces or bang away on our keyboards.

I’ve covered this before but feel obliged to do so again – Deane Smalley. Injured again, this time in the warm up and we are told it is the known problem. That is the problem which the club knew about when he was given a new contract. Questions must surely be asked of the person who made the call to retain him knowing this.


It’s not only the Premiership that is tight and entertaining. Our League has a lot to offer too even if the quality will be somewhat less. If we had turned the draw into a win we would have been top. With three teams on 23 points, us and two others on 22 and another three on 20 has it ever been closer with a quarter of the season gone? No one really has a clue who will win it, have they? I like almost everyone else fell for the Chesterfield hype a few weeks back. They might kick on again but there are so many teams in with a shout that interesting and challenging games will be coming at us one after another.

On Tuesday night we play one of the current top three and it would be good to see an encouraging turnout from home fans in terms of numbers and positive noise. I can’t promise we’ll play well, I can’t promise a win but I can promise that it is a fixture that matters and that it is the type of fixture that will show if we can live with and beyond our rivals at the top.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 21st, 2013 at 12:37 pm and appears under 2013, Comment, News Items. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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