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Northwich Victoria 3 Accrington Stanley 3

THE fans can't say Accrington Stanley don't give them plenty of entertainment but a few 1-0 wins will do the trick now!

THE fans can't say Accrington Stanley don't give them plenty of entertainment but a few 1-0 wins will do the trick now!

The Reds have conceded six goals in the last two games and should have had all three points against struggling Northwich instead of just one.

The Vics were rejuvenated under a new manager, Alvin McDonald, but Stanley boss John Coleman knows his side cannot continue to give goals away so cheaply in the Conference.

"We tightened up in the second half but we were awful in the first half, we gifted them two goals and we haven't played anywhere near like what we can do. I am disappointed and we need to improve.

"It could have ended up 15-15 and we need to be better than that, I know we can defend better as we have shown it in games like Barnet and Dagenham. We have got to play well against every team in this league not just some. They were first to the ball and we didn't impress ourselves on the game enough. No disrespect to Northwich but we have played against better forwards like Grazioili and Luke Rodgers and not given them a sniff.

"You cannot switch on and off in football and give teams chances as they will punish you. We made silly mistakes and we have got to stop doing this. The only pleasing thing was how strongly we came back in the last ten minutes - there was only one team in it then and Rory was unlucky not to score when he hit the post."

The first 26 minutes were breathtaking as every time a team went forward they seemed to score, with defensive mistakes on either side.

Rory Prendergast's opener on six minutes was a corner which curled straight into the Northwich net.

But one minute later and Vics, who haven't won in nine games, were back on level terms following a mistake by keeper Jon Kennedy. His clearance hit Johnny Allan and the Vics man raced forward and slotted the ball into the empty net.

No time for breath again as, by 11 minutes, Northwich had taken the lead. Mark Devlin played the ball into Chris Ward who fired past Kennedy.

But they were still celebrating when, two minutes later, a Rory Prendergast free kick was headed into the net by Paul Mullin.

It seemed Stanley would go on and win it when Prendergast was once more at the centre of things, playing in a free kick which Andy Gouck headed in at the far post on 26 minutes - his first for Stanley this season.

But it wasn't over as Ward found Allan on the edge of the area on 36 minutes and he was given time and space to curl the ball into the top corner of the net, beyond Kennedy's outstretched hands.

Northwich caused chaos with a series of corners before the break but after it Stanley could have taken the lead. Lutel James flicked the ball on for Mullin six yards out but the ball just missed him and Steve Flitcroft's 18-yard effort was saved by keeper Ben Connett.

Robbie Williams had to clear off the line as Allan went on the rampage but, with ten minutes left, it was all Stanley.

James appealed for a penalty when he fell under the challenge of Connett on 85 minutes then Prendergast hit the crossbar with a volley two minutes later.

Phil Brazier denied Mullin with a block and, on 90 minutes, Prendergast's free kick from 25 yards out was parried away by the keeper.

"Rory was our man of the match, he also did well defensively and tracked back," said Coleman. "He was also unlucky not to win it for us.

"But we must eliminate the mistakes."


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist