06 March 2019 11:07
Blackpool captain Jay Spearing scored a late penalty to boost their play-off hopes with a 2-1 win at 10-man Accrington. Spearing sent his penalty straight down the middle after Callum Johnson brought down Liam Feeney and, immediately after, Stanley goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident. John Coleman and Blackpool assistant Gary Brabin were also shown yellow cards late on in a feisty League One game. The Seasiders, bolstered by 1,800 travelling fans, opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Joe Dodoo found Matty Virtue and the midfielder stroked the ball home. Stanley equalised midway through the first half when Liam Gibson played a ball to on-loan Middlesbrough striker Luke Armstrong, who fired home his second league goal from around 10 yards.
Stanley came close to taking the lead five minutes into the second half when Sam Finley's thunderous 25-yard strike hit the crossbar. Evtimov then had to be in superb form, denying Chris Long and Armand Gnanduillet before the penalty and frantic finish as Blackpool grabbed their first win in five games. A delighted Terry McPhillips praised the response of his players from the weekend's drubbing in tonight's 2-1 win at Accrington Stanley. But it was the away side who held on to claim the three points to reduce the gap to the play-offs to three points ahead of Saturday's homecoming clash against Southend United. "It's the third time we've played them this season and they've all been close games. In the second half we were the better side and had more chances and more shots on target. Pool's winning goal came from the penalty spot in the 81st minute after Liam Feeney had been brought down inside the box in front of the packed away end - and McPhillips believed that made a big difference. Accrington boss John Coleman has a decision to make over his goalkeepers as he prepares for Tuesday night's League One clash with Blackpool. Jonny Maxted was an unused substitute for Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by Coventry after suffering mild concussion during the 1-1 draw with Southend the previous weekend. Blackpool striker Chris Long is expected to return to the fold after missing Saturday's 4-0 drubbing at Bristol Rovers. Scunthorpe United will look to get back to winning ways this weekend when they take on Accrington Stanley. The Iron's six-game unbeaten run was brought to an end by Barnsley last weekend and will look to get back on the winning trail this afternoon. Indeed United are a place above Accrington in the League One table, with the visitors in the middle of a poor run of form, which Scunthorpe will hope to take advantage of. It was only a few short months ago that Accrington were in the top six, but they have not scored in the league since Boxing Day. Sean McConville doubled the lead and while Luke Garbutt quickly got the U's back into the game, they promptly conceded a sloppy goal to Jordan Clark. John Mousinho's 89th-minute header gave the 311 travelling fans hope which was quickly dashed when Luke Armstrong made it 4-2 in stoppage time. Sykes looked bright early on, launching a counter-attack in the third minute which ended with Browne having a shot saved. United made most of the early running and Browne had another shooting chance after excellent work from Mackie, this time firing over from the edge of the box. Stanley took time to warm to their task, but Kee's shot over from Callum Johnson's cross was the cue for the hosts to dominate the final 15 minutes of the half. A minute later Smyth had another shooting chance, this time flashing the bouncing ball off target from an acute angle. Carruthers forced Maxted to parry his effort from the edge of the penalty area as United went in search of a quick equaliser. But their problems quickly mounted as Cameron Brannagan picked up his tenth booking of the league season, triggering a two-game ban. Hanson lost his bearings on a Clark cross which allowed McConville a free header, which hit the inside of Eastwood's left-hand post and fell into the relieved goalkeeper's arms. United needed a response and began the second half with an intensity which rocked Stanley back. Three chances came in as many minutes, but after Carruthers had a shot blocked, Browne and Mackie headed off target. But after failing to land a telling blow, United were floored just before the hour mark when McConville backed Hanson into the box and fired a low shot into the far corner. Again the visitors had a spell which left Stanley scrambling, their best chance coming after another Sykes charge forward, but from Graham's cutback Mackie had a shot blocked on the line. There were almost 20 minutes still to play and United never stopped looking for a way back into the game. That set up a grandstand finish, but Stanley sealed the points in stoppage-time through Armstrong to leave United in the mire. Accrington Stan (4-4-2): Maxted, Johnson, Hughes, Richards-Everton, Donacien, Clark, Brown, Barlaser, McConville (Gibson 83), Kee, Smyth (Armstrong 85). Rovers are through to the Final of the Lancashire Senior Cup after edging past near neighbours Accrington Stanley at Brockhall Village. In an entertaining clash, Lewis Thompson took the tie to penalties with almost the final kick of the game through Lewis Thompson. It came after goals from Offrande Zanzala and a Nolan header before half time cancelled out Dan Butterworth's excellent opening strike. Rovers started the game brightest, with Butterworth smashing into the bottom right-hand corner with his supposed weaker left foot to hand the hosts the lead after just 15 minutes. But Accrington responded strongly, with first team regular Zanzala brilliantly bringing down a long ball forward before beating Albinson just two minutes later. Soon after and Vale fired over the up right under pressure from Ipswich Town loanee Janoi Donacien, before Nolan thumped home a header from an Erico De Souza corner to give Stanley the advantage at the break. Whatever Damien Johnson said to his team at half time certainly seemed to work, with Rovers regularly probing Evtimov, with Vale going close before a fine run and strike from John Buckley saw his effort drift over. Time was running out for Rovers to take the tie further, and after Luke Armstrong's deflected effort trickled just wide, Stefan Mols flicked onto the post with only five minutes remaining. Rovers didn't give up though, and kept pressing the visitors, and after Vale sliced wide and Rankin-Costello cracked the bar, the equaliser finally came. John Buckley, Jack Vale and Ben Paton slotted home their penalties, whilst Scott Brown, Luke Armstrong missed, before Albinson became the hero, saving down low to stop Nolan and sent Rovers through. Accrington Stanley: Evtimov, Donacien, Gibson, Nolan, Brown, Zanzala, Armstrong, De Souza, Rodgers, Wood, Williams (Mangan, 60). CHRIS POWELL was satisfied with a share of the spoils but insisted that his Southend United side needed to be more ruthless after witnessing their 1-1 Sky Bet League One draw with Accrington Stanley at the Wham Stadium. But despite creating several opportunities to kill the contest, Southend were pegged back on the hour when Dan Barlaser sent a thundering effort beyond Nathan Bishop from twenty-five yards to secure a point for the home side. "It was a brave goal by Stephen Humphrys, and we definitely had the opportunities but it's about composure in the final third. We are creating chances now, but you've got to take them when you come to somewhere like Accrington. The Blues boss continued: "They had opportunities, don't get me wrong, but we definitely had the better ones and it's about confidence and composure in front of goal. It's something you replicate in training, but you have to do it on game day and that's the most important time. Southend United return to Sky Bet League One action on Saturday, March 2 when highflying Barnsley are the visitors to Roots Hall Stadium (12:30pm). Accrington Stanley: Maxted (Evtimov 29'), Johnson, Hughes, Donacien, Richards-Everton, Clark, Brown, McConville (Capt), Barlaser, Kee, Smyth (Armstrong 83') Subs not used: Zanzala, Finley, Rogers, Gibson, Gilboy