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Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Coleman shows he is mustard as Accrington punch above their weight

Accrington boss John Coleman
1 of 1

Sky Bet League Two
Cambridge 0 Accrington 0

"Accrington have a budget three times smaller than ours but all their players can pass the ball on the floor and we can't. Just imagine how much better Cambridge would be if he managed us."

Those were the words of a Cambridge supporter sitting near me - admittedly one who spent most of the match moaning about United manager Shaun Derry - but it was difficult not to nod in agreement at his eulogising of Accrington gaffer John Coleman.

I have no idea whether the fan in question was correct in his budget assessment but Accy definitely work on one of the smallest wage bills in the league and yet second-placed Stanley continue to punch above their weight in Sky Bet League Two.

This deserved draw was a hard-fought point as Stanley initially struggled to impose their passing game on more physical opponents but Accy may well have grabbed victory after the break as Billy Kee's sensational shot hit the bar and the striker was later denied by home keeper David Forde from close range.

Whatever happens over the next few months - their small squad and winter pitches won't help Stanley - they clearly have one of the shrewdest lower-league bosses around in classy Coleman.

There is no right way to play football, but there is a better way that is more pleasing on the eye and Coleman preaches playing out from the back in an attacking manner that others with greater resources should be looking at trying to achieve.

Goalkeeper Aaron Chapman is asked to pass short or roll the ball out to one of his defenders wherever possible, midfielder Seamus Conneely drops deep to start attacks and wide players Jordan Clark and Sean McConville are encouraged to join in with dangerous forwards Kee and Kayden Jackson.


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The busy Kee, joint-top goalscorer in League Two, is a danger anywhere inside the final third, while Jackson's speed frightened Cambridge throughout. Jackson twice had penalty appeals turned down and his electric pace stretches opponents.

However, a second-half corner perhaps best summed up Stanley's show that turned into a nearly afternoon.

All the players moved to the near post as left-back Jordan Thorniley charged late from the halfway line to the back post where there was loads of space, but the delivery was just over-hit.

The execution was off but the intention was right and Accrington could defy the budget-calculating money men this season with the playoffs a realistic target. With Coleman in charge they can even dare to dream of automatic promotion. 

The opposition

Derry called it a "great point" which maybe gives a glimpse of his mindset and why some Cambridge supporters are calling for a managerial change.

They are 12th, only two points off the playoffs but having scored fewer goals (16) than bottom club Chesterfield after 17 matches.

United are well-drilled - only Coventry have more clean sheets - and centre-backs Greg Taylor and Leon Legge provide a solid base with experienced keeper Forde a reliable last line of defence.

Uche Ikpeazu and Jabo Ibehre are a powerful front two and Cambridge are not afraid to go long early or to get crosses into the box but there was a lack of guile at times and it could be argued that as the home team Cambridge should have been more adventurous.

Derry, however, had clearly spent a lot of time planning how to nullify Accrington and they did that part of the game as well as he will have hoped as Cambridge played out their third 0-0 draw in five league fixtures.

On this evidence it is easy to see why Cambridge's league matches are averaging only 1.88 goals per game this season and Derry does not seem in the mood to change, to the frustration of some.

Cambridge (4-4-2): Forde; Halliday, Legge, Taylor, Carroll; Brown, O'Neil (Mingoia 67), Deegan, Elito; Ikpeazu, Ibehre.

Accrington (4-4-2): Chapman; Donacien, Hughes, Richards-Everton, Thorniley; Clark, Johnson (Brown 62), Conneely, McConville; Jackson, Kee. 


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The busy Kee, joint-top goalscorer in League Two, is a danger in the final third
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