Accrington Stanley FanZoner Lee Walker evaluates the season so far for James Beattie's men, and eyes a promotion push for the League Two side.
As we approach the halfway point in the season and the busy Christmas period I thought it would be a good idea to have a half term report on my mighty club.
As usual our season so far has proved to be an absolute roller-coaster with some title winning performances one week and relegation fodder the next. Currently we sit in 17th after yesterday's quite unbelievable last minute 3-2 win at fellow stragglers Mansfield Town. How on earth we scored two goals in injury time is beyond me, but it just shows the lads have bottle if nothing else!
People say the table doesn't lie and on our current performance since August I would have to agree. It's massively frustrating at times but after beating Middlesborough in the Capital One Cup first round away in August and a solid draw with Portsmouth the week after I really did think we had enough for a top 10 finish. Cue a disastrous run of 8 straight defeats which led to some supporters, including myself wondering whether or not Beattie was up to it.
It wasn't entirely the manager's fault, with the usual pre-season exits of our star men Lee Molyneux to Crewe, Amine Linganzi to Gillingham and Rommy Boco to Plymouth. This left us with a massive hole to fill across the midfield and whatever the manager tried it just didn't seem to work. Former midfield linchpin Luke Joyce was terribly out of form and along with Peter Murphy going from Mr Consistent to class clown we were on a slippery slope to oblivion.
The loan signing of big frontman Kayode Odejayi from Rotherham United seemed to change our fortunes with three draws against Plymouth, Oxford and Wimbledon. It was however the last minute winner at our old friends Morecambe which seemed to change the mindset of the players. The Shrimps were flying in October but it was that man Peter Murphy who smashed in a scrambled goal to send the travelling Stanley faithful wild. Cue a run of 5 wins in 6 games and suddenly we find ourselves back in the mix after looking doomed in September.
Huge credit should be given to Beattie and the lads as no doubt they had been written off by many, including myself. We know it's an achievement for us to stay in this league considering the size of our club, but why can't we again challenge for the play-offs? We did it 2 years ago and fell at the semi-final stage to our most hated rivals in Stevenage FC, but I don't see any reason why we can't do it again. We have three 'local' games over Christmas and looking at them they are all winnable ties. Fleetwood away on New Year's Day is massive and I'm hoping for a decent turnout. Three games, three wins and we will sit nicely in mid-table. Sounds good to me.
Happy Christmas to all.
On Stanley On.