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[Archived] Match Report: Accrington Stanley 0-2 Blackburn Rovers

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As ever Parsonblue's fantastic match report from the first pre-season match. This year not only will he be providing match reports on first team matches but also when possible from the under 21 and under 18 games.

Saturday 11th July 2015 – Pre-Season Friendly

Accrington Stanley 0 v 2 Blackburn Rovers

Accrington Stanley (0) 0
First Half Team:
Jason Mooney; Dean Winnard, Tom Davies, Joe Wright, Matty Pearson; Matt Crooks; Seamus McCartan, Josh Windass, Sean McConville; Marcus Carver, Billy Kee.
Second Half Team:
Ross Etheridge; Trailist, Liam Goulding, Adam Cummins, Adam Buxton; Piero Mingoia (Jason St Juste 72), Seamus Conneely, Anthony Barry, Gerardo Bruna (Trailist 72); Terry Gornell, Adam Morgan.
Manager: John Coleman

Blackburn Rovers (1) 2
Furman 12, Conway 81
Jason Steele; Ryan Nyambe, Shane Duffy, DarraghLenihan, Tommy Spurr; Liam Nolan, Dean Furman, Giles Coke, Connor Mahoney; Ben Marshall; Jordan Rhodes (John O’Sullivan 31).
Second Half Team:
David Raya; Connor Thomson, Grant Hanley, Matt Kilgallon, Marcus Olsson; John O’Sullivan, Lee Williamson, Sacha Petshi, Craig Conway; Chris Brown, Anton Forrester.

Manager: Gary Bowyer

Referee:Mr. Toner

Bookings: None


The sight of Jordan Rhodes being stretchered off after just 31 minutes was the last thing one wanted to see in the first pre-season friendly of the new campaign. However, watching him later hobble around on crutches with his ankle and foot in a protective boot really brought home just how stretched the Rovers’ resources are likely to be this season with the restrictions imposed by the Football League. Whatever the rights and wrongs of Financial Fair Play may be there is no doubting the fact that it is going to have a major negative impact on those clubs hamstrung with a transfer embargo.

Gone are the days when world renowned stars like Benni McCarthy, Roque Santa Cruz or Míchel Salgado would arrive in the summer to boost the ranks at Ewood Park. At Accrington the new faces on view were of a rather more modest pedigree. Whilst Dean Furman’s club career – Bradford City, Oldham Athletic and Doncaster Rovers – may be uninspiring he does have the distinction of playing international football, being the present captain of the South African team. Giles Coke has done the rounds, as it were, with stops at Mansfield Town, Northampton Town, Motherwell and Sheffield Wednesday as well as loan spells with Bury, Swindon Town and Bolton Wanderers before becoming a free agent in the summer. Liam Nolan, on the other hand, is a product of the Everton Academy and has spent the past couple of seasons with Crewe Alexandra. Still only 20, he has also appeared for the Northern Ireland Under-21 side. The final new face on view was from a more exotic background with the imposing figure of Sacha Petshi arriving on trial from French Third Division side CercleAthlétiqueBastiais. The twenty-three year old has also played for Troyes and US Orléans in France as well has having a short spell in Serbia with SlobodaUžice.

The home side started the brighter and Josh Windass, who proved so prolific towards the end of last season for Stanley, rattled a post with a snap shot from the edge of the box after only four minutes. The Rovers responded with a chance of their own from a set piece. A corner from Connor Mahoney was met by the head of DarraghLenihan but the youngster couldn’t keep his header down and the ball flew narrowly over the bar.

The Rovers took the lead after only twelve minutes with a well worked goal down the right flank. Giles Coke clipped a perfect ball over the head of Matty Pearson, the former Rover who joined Stanley in the summer, for Ryan Nyambe to run onto. The full-back worked his way into the area before pulling the ball back in the direction of Ben Marshall. However, a Stanley defender stuck out a foot and deflected the ball to almost the edge of the area in a central position and Dean Furman wasted no time in racing onto the ball and firing a left foot shot into the back of the net.

Ben Marshall, who was playing just behind Jordan Rhodes, struck a long range effort which flew over the bar as the Rovers dominated possession. Nyambe was proving a good attacking outlet on the right whilst Furman and Coke were tenacious workers in the middle of the park.

However, on twenty-eight minutes disaster struck for the Rovers went Jordan Rhodes went down in a seemingly innocuous incident when he went to challenge a defender. He looked to have gone over on his ankle and immediately signalled for assistance. After several minutes treatment by the physio and doctor Rhodes was stretchered from the pitch to be replaced by John O’Sullivan who played as the lone striker for the remainder of the half.

The Rovers seemed to have a good shout for a penalty when Furman burst into the area before being eased off the ball by a Stanley defender. However, the referee ignored the appeals for what looked like a certain penalty. O’Sullivan was soon in the thick of the action and held the ball up well before laying it off into the path of Marshall who fired narrowly wide.

The second-half saw both sides begin with a completely different eleven, although O’Sullivan continued for the Rovers but switched to the right wing. The Rovers also changed their tactics and opted for a two man attack with Anton Forrester and Chris Brown forming a new partnership up front. The Rovers also introduced Petshi into the centre of midfield and the Frenchman immediately caught the eye with some fancy footwork which extricated from more than one tricky situation.

The opening stages of the second half failed to match the tempo shown in the first half and it wasn’t until the sixty-fifth minute that either side made an attempt on goal. The Rovers sprung the Stanley offside trap and Brown raced clear into the penalty area. However, as the angle narrowed he shot straight at Ross Etheridge when he really ought to have done better.

The Rovers almost paid for their philanthropy when Craig Conway almost immediately played David Raya in trouble with a backpass. The Spanish ‘keeper slipped as he went for the ball and as Adam Morgan collected it, Raya tackled the Stanley man but was adjudged to have tripped him and the referee pointed to the spot. However, Raya redeemed himself when he dived to his right and got a strong hand to Anthony Barry’s spot kick and kept the ball out.

Petschi, who really caught the eye, took the ball forward before unleashing a powerful long range shot which was on target and forced Etheridge to make a save.

With nine minutes remaining the Rovers scored a second goal with a very well worked move. Matt Kilgallon played the ball out to O’Sullivan who fed Forrester and he, in turn, slipped the ball to Brown who switched the play to Conway on the right wing. The Scottish international drove into the right side of the area and took the ball outside of his maker before unleashing a powerful shot across the face of the goal and into the far top corner of the net.

There was still time for Raya to again show what an outstanding prospect he is when Adam Morgan fired in a shot from point blank range. It seemed a certain goal until Raya somehow got a hand to the ball and pushed it over the bar.

As always with this sort of game it was a fitness exercise more than anything else. Whilst Gary Bowyer will have been concerned with the loss of Rhodes, he will no doubt have been impressed with the overall performance. In particular the performances of Raya, Nyambe Lenihan and O’Sullivan illustrated that there are promising young players at the club whilst Furman and Coke were generally neat and tidy in midfield and Furman took his goal well. Petshi made himself very popular with the travelling fans with an impressive second half display in which he showed a surprising amount of craft and guile combined with a powerful shot.

After a trip to the training camp in Portugal the Rovers senior team are in action again on the 21st July when they travel to meet Keith Hill’s Rochdale.

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Thanks so much, so refreshing to read a full, unbiased report as we start a new season - looking forward to all the ones to come, not least from the the U-21s who seem to feature so little on this board. More actual info, & less jokes & vitriol would certainly be appreciated from this Southern-based supporter (for well over 50 years).

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