Wes Hoolahan is thirty-nine years old. Let that sink in for a minute as you re-watch the highlights and see him busting a gut to burst forward in the ninety-fifth minute of a game of football. Thirty-nine years old. Wes Hoolahan. Bloody brilliant.
As Wes was slotting his last minute shot through the legs of a Stanley defender, a hundred an eight miles to the north west of us Derby’s Louis Sibley was also getting on the scoresheet and condemning P*sh muppet Darren Ferguson to the job centre for the nth time. But we digress…
United named an unchanged line-up from last weekends 2-2 draw at Burton, Knibbs and Smiths goals that Saturday keeping Tolaj on the bench again. In fairly miserable conditions the game got started, and in all honesty the first half was fairly forgettable, both teams enjoying periods on top, although the U’s were unable to create any meaningful chances which meant Accrington went in the happier of the two sides, having forced a couple of good saves from Dimi Mitov
The second half started and conditions weren’t really much better but it did mean United were kicking towards the NRE. Still the best early chances of the half fell to Accrington, with Sam Sherring being called upon to clear off the line and preserve the clean sheet. United eventually managed to force a corner, which bounced around the box for a bit before falling to Adam May on the edge of the area…
For once May didn’t score, but his low shot was spilled by the Stanley keeper for Sam Smith to shin across the line and give United the lead. Knibbs then had a great chance to double the lead, but couldn’t get a shot away and it took another great save from Mitov to prevent the quick counter attack from leading to a goal.
Knibbs had a huge shout for a penalty ignored by the ref soon after – it’s a call that divides opinion even amongst the usually agreeable chaps at UTAS, those in the Habbin and Main Stand claiming it was nailed on, those in the NRE claiming Knibbs went down too easily. You’ll have your own thoughts on whether it was a penalty or not, but we can all agree we were looking forward to the prospect of Dimi Mitov leathering it into the back of the net from twelve yards, right?
Accrington were given a wake-up call by United finally taking chances (I think the stats were showing 16 shots to 2 at this stage, in favour of the visitors) and continued to pile forward in search of an equaliser. They looked the most likely team to get it too, until in the dying moments James Brophy, having a great game despite the conditions, took on four players, calmly teed up the aforementioned Hoolahan, who cooly slotted between the defenders legs and out of reach of the keeper. As the media team cued up Wessi’s excellent Guinness-drinking goal gif on Twitter, the man himself executed a forward roll in front of the NRE with all the athleticism and grace of a man half his age.
If you’d have asked us immediately after the first goal did we deserve the win, the answer would have been a definite ‘no’. But we dug in and ground out a result in difficult weather against an overly physical opposition, so by the end of the game yeah, we probably deserved it. Deserved or not there was one person in the Abbey who definitely didn’t think so, whinging Stanley boss John Coleman harping on about some imaginary throw in he thought they should have had, despite Accrington playing some of the most physical football that went mostly unpunished by the ref.
Man of The Match: Too many to choose from, with Knibbs, Sherring, Digby and Mitov all putting in brilliant performances. We’re giving it to James Brophy though, as a player that often divides opinion, he’s really stepped his performances up a gear over these past few matches and is now an integral part of our team.
Soundtrack of The Match: Young MC – Bust A Move