The FA Cup often springs up surprises. Back in 2015 we saw Bradford City, the a League One side, knock out a rampant Jose Mourinho Chelsea side. Luton town became non-league heroes by reaching the fifth round in 2013. And in 2018 Accrington Stanley were just one penalty away from repeating the rare feat of being a non-league side in the fifth round.
After beating Cardiff City 1-0 in the fourth round, Robson’s Accrington side were tasked with another home fixture against Championship promotion contenders Hull City. With the score level at 0-0 after 85 minutes, Accrington were awarded a late penalty. Otis Khan, a man on hot goalscoring form, stepped up to take the penalty. However he could not convert and the match was sent to a replay. Accrington lost 3-0 in the reverse fixture but can be proud of their run in the FA Cup and subsequent revival in the League.
Tactical Gamble and League Form Revival
After spending the majority of the season playing as anchorman, Luke Moran has been moved forward into centre midfield. Joseph Robson discussed how the move allowed Luke to have a bit more creative freedom in addition to his defensive responsibilities. Two attacking midfielders sit behind the lone poacher in attack. This change of formation has seen a slight increase in goals scored over the last few months.
Two players were signed by Accrington Stanley in the January transfer window. Both Tom Hitchcock and Anthony Wordsworth were signed to play in the first team. However with just 1 goal in his first 9 games, Hitchcock is being wrestled out of the team by 17-year-old Juddy Pambani.
Fans have praised Robson for his determination to bring young players from the youth setup into the first team. In addition to Pambani, Luke Rumble and Jack Hartley have also made several first team appearances since January.
Five league wins has moved Accrington back into play-off contention. But Robson will be pushing his team for higher. Can Accrington use their cup success as a springboard for a League promotion push? Eight games remain for The Reds to fight for the title.
Part Eight: Problems | The New Mourinho | Part Eight
Part Ten: Playoffs | The New Mourinho | Part Ten