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Bell: If it was a boxing match, we'd have knocked them out

Stanley's assistant manager discusses the 2-1 win over Milton Keynes Dons

1 September 2019

Accrington Stanley assistant manager Jimmy Bell heaped a huge amount of praise onto the players after they came from behind to record the club's first win of the season as they beat Milton Keynes Dons 2-1 at the Wham Stadium.

Stanley went behind to a goal from Kieran Agard but Bell explained that the players were excellent after the goal was conceded and that it should have been more than just a one goal lead come the final whistle.

"It was a great performance, a great win and it was nerve jangling in the end.

"We we eager to get the first three points on the board this season, so we were going to get that but I think the performance deserved a lot more than that.

"We should have been out of sight, we missed the penalty, we missed a host of great chances and we got a great compliment off their manager (Paul Tisdale) at the end, as he said 'you're a very good team and you fully deserved the three points', so that summed it up for me."

Despite conceding the first goal, Bell was also proud of how the players responded and got themselves back up after the frustration of condeding despite being the team on top.

"Confidence was affected, we haven't won for five games, we haven't won in the league, with playing so well it was a body blow but it was great that we responded.

"We played well if not better than what we did against Shrewsbury Town today, and it was a body blow but we got back up and hit them with three or four really good shots in the second half.

"If it was a boxing match, we'd have knocked them out."

The club's performances haven't necessarily matched the results so far this season, but Bell admitted that a lot of work has gone in during the week with the players following the 2-0 defeat away at Fleetwood Town.

"With the way that our season has gone so far, we were a little bit vulnerable to that and we were a little bit fragile at the back mentally.

"They've got good forwards, as every team in Sky Bet League One does, and when you make one mistake, you get punished and that's what's been happening this season.

"Fortunately, we had a little bit more about us today, we've had a lot of soul searching this week since the Fleetwood game, a lot of harsh words have been spoken and we told them that we've got to stop being good footballers, and we've got to be good defenders first.

"I think you saw a different Accrington today, you saw a more resilient Accrington today."

Colby Bishop grabbed his fourth goal for the club in bizarre fashion, but Bell explains that himself and manager John Coleman are telling the strikers to get into those positions because that's where the majority of goals are scored.

"We told them at half-time to get between the sticks, and Colby's took that on board and the ball's hit him and gone in, but in the Shrewsbury game, Mark Hughes is between the sticks, it hits him and goes in his own net.

"That's where all the goals are scored or a lot of the goals are scored, getting across the front man, Paddy Madden did it to us last week and we've showed them videos this week about getting into the right positions.

"It took a half-time team talk for Colby to do that but I thought that he led the line brilliantly today."

Bishop also missed a penalty but Bell doesn't think that will be an issue for the summer signing and that he will bounce back from it.

"He's a smashing lad, he takes everything on board, and he seems a really level headed lad as well, so I don't think that will be an issue for him.

"I'm sure if we get another penalty, I'm sure he'll want to take it."

Stanley's winning goal came courtesy of defender Hughes, and Bell praised both defenders for their overall performances during the win over Milton Keynes Dons.

"At this stage you don't care who scores them, it's great for Mark to get a goal and his performance deserved that today, him and Ross (Sykes) were exceptional today, they were absolute mountains, especially after the goal.

"They took the game to them and they won every header that we asked them to, and I think his game deserved a goal and I'm made up for him."

The first win of the season is of big signifiance to the club, but Bell explained that the players need to build on the win now if they want to progress higher up the table.

"It's a big step for us as a team and as a club.

"We should be further up the league than what we should be, but we're not, but it's a start and we'll build on that."


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