In the North-West of England and with a spare evening to kill, the logical thing to do, would be to go to a football match. I was in luck, as Accrington Stanley (one hour away from Manchester) were at home.
I was in double luck as it were, with the match kicking off at 7pm, as the last bus out of Accrington is at 9.41pm. If the match kicked-off at a more standard 7.45pm, I wouldn’t have been able to go.
I did say it was one hour away from Manchester, the journey ended up taking close to two hours due to roadworks and peak commuter levels of traffic on the roads.
The ground was relatively easy to find from the town centre, I got told to walk up a hill for 20 minutes then follow the road signs. The ground itself, wasn’t particularly modern, with still using wooden seats. I don’t mean to put it down, i’m not fussed about the ground as long as I get to watch some football.
I ventured into the club shop, which included a poster urging people to vote for Stereo Kicks on X-Factor, as one of them came from Accrington.
Stanley kicked-off in 12th, four points off the play-offs and one point behind their opponents.
I was sat in the stand along the side of the pitch, unreserved seating, meaning I could moved from one end to the other when Stanley were attacking.
Surprisingly, Stanley attacked their own fans (the end behind one of the goals houses away fans) in the first-half. Stanley did well in the first-half, playing slightly better, with their “Ultras” behind the goal claiming a goal when Exeter’s keeper caught the ball on the line with his feet behind it.
In first-half injury time, Exeter took the lead when Liam Sercombe hit a lovely finish after a cross from the left.
From there, I retired to the bar at half-time, to get a bit of heat, before venturing out for the second-half.
If Stanley needed a good start to the second-half, they didn’t get it, falling 2-0 down when Alex Nicholls fired home from outside the box.
From there, the game looked set to go out on a bit of a whimper, until John O’Sullivan fired home from long range. Within minutes, Exeter regained their two goal lead, through a lovely free-kick from Matt Grimes.
Once again, the game seemed set to just fizzle out, before Shay McCartan, a Northern Ireland Under 21 player, flicked the ball past a defender, before running through on goal and finishing from the edge of the box.
There was just under twenty minutes to go. There was a Stanley flurry in the final minutes, but they never really looked like scoring. Four minutes of injury time seemed to annoy Stanley manager John Coleman, who screamed “FOUR GOALS AND SIX SUBS!!!!” at the 4th Official when he held up his board.
They could have played all night, they were never going to score.
And yes, I managed to write about Acrington Stanley without referencing Ian Rush and/or Milk. Well, until now.