ACCRINGTON Stanley manager John Coleman says that Saturday’s league game with Notts County is a more important game than last weekend’s FA Cup clash with Middlesbrough was.
The Reds host County at the Wham Stadium, hoping to pick up just their second league win in their last 13 matches.
Stanley are 21st in the table, just one point above the drop zone, though they do have games in hand on the teams around them.
Notts County are just one place below Accrington in the division, with just goal difference separating the two sides.
While Coleman saw last weekend’s fixture against Premier League side Middlesbrough as a big game, he insists that this upcoming showdown against County has always been a more crucial match.
“This Saturday’s game is 100 times more important. We need a big home crowd to try and help us win,” he said.
“We’ve got to show a lot of determination and resolve to go out and get a result. It might not be as pretty as the game was against Middlesbrough, and we might have to dig in and win ugly, but we’ve got to find a way to win.”
Accrington will be hoping to replicate a result from earlier in the season when they face Notts County, as the Reds won 2-0 at Meadow Lane in the reverse fixture back in September.
Stanley narrowly came up short against Boro on Saturday, losing the game 1-0 at the Riverside Stadium after Stewart Downing’s second half strike.
Coleman was hoping to cause the upset and win the match, but says he can’t have any complaints with the performances his players put in.
“The result I’m disappointed with as I don’t like losing any game, but we didn’t let ourselves down performance wise,” he said.
“We did what we said we would do. We tried to have a go and didn’t park the bus. We created three or four really good chances ourselves.
“It’s took a wonder goal to beat us but I thought it was a good game. Both teams tried to pass the ball and attack and make chances.
“You obviously expect them to beat better than us and for big periods they were, but we defended well and I can’t fault any of the players.”
Stanley had a large amount of support at the game against Middlesbrough, with over 600 fans making the trip, and Coleman has paid tribute to them.
“They were fantastic and I can’t thank them enough for giving up their hard earned money and time,” he said.
“They never stopped singing which is a great boost to the players, and it would have been nice to give them a goal to see.”
Emirates FA Cup 4th round, Riverside Stadium
Stanley were knocked out of the FA Cup at the fourth round stage after narrowly coming up short against Premier League side Middlesbrough.
The Reds put up a good effort in the match at the Riverside Stadium, but Stewart Downing’s goal on 69 minutes was enough to separate the two sides.
While his team may have come up short, Reds boss John Coleman was proud of his side for their efforts.
“I can’t fault any of our players and hand on heart you wouldn’t think there was that big a gulf in the divisions,” he said.
“If you look at the teams that were put out by Premier League sides, pound for pound we probably faced the strongest of the lot. You can’t ask a manager to pick a weakened side, but plenty of other clubs did pick weakened sides, whereas we faced a very strong team.
“We knew the ability they had so to compete in the manner we did is a testament to how well our players performed.
“It’s disappointing not to win the game as it would have been a magnificent result if we got a draw due to the financial implications, but all we could do was give it our best shot and we did.”
Middlesbrough had several key players in their team, including big money signings Patrick Bamford and Rudy Gestede.
One player who didn’t last long though was George Friend, and he was forced off through injury on nine minutes and replaced by Dael Fry.
The first real chance of the match fell to Stanley on 15 minutes when Sean McConville’s corner was met by Omar Beckles, but he couldn’t get his header on target and the chance went begging.
At the other end, Viktor Fischer went close after he got on the end of a free kick by Downing, only to send the effort wide.
Downing was lively for the home side, and he almost opened the scoring on two occasions, first firing over the crossbar before sending a free-kick inches wide too.
Stanley’s defence were working hard to try and keep out their Premier League opponents, and Bamford was the next to threaten when his effort was deflected behind.
Accrington were creating chances of their own though, as Sean Clare forced a good save out of Dimi Konstantopoulos just before the interval.
Boro picked up where they left off at the start of the second half, again having the majority of the play. They thought they had opened the scoring after a goalmouth scramble began in the Stanley box, but Coleman’s men eventually managed to clear the danger.
At the other end, Arron Davies tried his luck from distance, but his long-range effort flew over the crossbar.
Middlesbrough’s pressure eventually paid off just after the hour mark when Downing made the breakthrough, scoring from 20 yards.
Stanley pushed in search of an equaliser, and they almost found one on 82 minutes when Janoi Donacien’s initial cross fell to an unmarked McConville, but he headed wide of the post.
Billy Kee also went close during the dying stages for Stanley, but they couldn’t find a goal, in what will go down as an extremely brave performance.