Leam Richardson’s first week in charge brought two games with contrasting performances where individuals took centre stage for differing reasons.
A strong following and a full strength Stanley side journeyed to AFC Fylde in the first round proper of the FA Cup on Saturday. The hosts were welcoming off the pitch but strong and committed on it; a tough test met the reds despite the gulf in league positions.
Staney’s passing and movement were on top form throughout the game and this quality shining through was key to thwarting a difficult non-league team. Fylde for all of their endeavour struggled to cope with our play in the final third, finding our front line in a clinical mood.
Will Hatfield - the super-sub from last season - was particularly ruthless on the day, breaking his duck and then some by scoring all of our four goals. Not many players can say that they have achieved such a feat, one which will long remain in the memories of all that travelled.
The following Tuesday dug up an old rivalry just a little further up the coast. Morecambe away is a special fixture for Stanley fans not least due to the amount of memorable moments shared in games gone by. From the double dismissal of Rory Prendergast and Dean Calcutt in the Marsden Trophy to the wonder goal scored by Ian Craney, Morecambe bay has been the mixing pot for proper North West football.
This game however was somewhat anti-climactic, at least for the Shrimps. The home team created far more chances than us but squandered all of them in the face of in-form Stanley ‘keeper Ian Dunbavin. Not even a last-minute penalty could get past the loveable stopper who is having the season of his career so far. A very fortunate point was won which could prove invaluable come the end of the season.
Stanley now unbeaten in three return home to the Crown Ground to face Northampton Town. Three points here could propel us closer to the play-off positions as we reach the season’s half-way mark. Leam Richardson will be hoping that the moments of flair and resilience shown this week can come together to aid a comfortable home victory.
On, Stanley, On.