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Match Reports

REPORT: Doncaster Rovers 2 Stanley 2

Vital late goal by captain Conneely seals replay for Reds

4 November 2023

Match Reports

REPORT: Doncaster Rovers 2 Stanley 2

Vital late goal by captain Conneely seals replay for Reds

4 November 2023

Seamus Conneely secured an Emirates FA Cup first round replay for Accrington Stanley with a late vital goal against fellow League Two side Doncaster Rovers.

Doncaster bossed the first half and led through George Broadbent’s ninth minute goal and Stanley needed heroics from keeper Jon McCracken to keep it at 1-0.

But John Coleman’s men bounced back in the second half. They had a Josh Andrews goal ruled out for off-side before Shaun Whalley’s solo effort on 74 minutes drew the Reds level.

A 25-yard wonder strike from Harrison Biggins in the 80th minute looked like the home side had won it before Conneely popped up in the 84th minute goal with a rare but important goal for a replay.

Jay Rich-Baghuelou and Brad Hills came back into the Reds defence after missing the 1-0 loss to Colchester through suspension.

Doncaster bossed the first half and opened the scoring on nine minutes when, from a set piece, Mo Faal’s header crashed against the crossbar and it fell to Broadbent to fire home.

It should have been two minutes later but for a stunning save from McCracken. West Brom loanee Faal headed the ball down at the far post and Luke Molyneux had the goal at his mercy but the Norwich loan keeper dived to push the ball away.

Rovers, with three wins in their last four games, continued to press with McCracken making another superb point blank save to deny Faal from four yards on 26 minutes.

Stanley struggled to get into the Doncaster box but Rosaire Longelo had an effort blocked on 31 minutes in their first real attack.

Joe Pritchard curled an effort just over and Longelo’s cross was hooked from under the crossbar by keeper Louis Jones just before half-time.

Jack Nolan came on after the break for the booked Ben Woods as Stanley looked to level and the Reds started well.

Jones made his first meaningful action of the game on 53 minutes with a strong reaction save to deny Pritchard from Whalley’s ball in.

Doncaster, on the counter attack, almost got a second on 62 minutes but McCracken was again the hero, keeping out Molyneux.

Substitutes Conneely and Matt Lowe entered the fray on 64 minutes as Stanley tried to take advantage of being on top in the second half.

Accrington thought they had levelled on 71 minutes when Andrews got on the end of Lowe’s ball and hooked it over Jones – Stanley celebrated but Ross Joyce, after consulting with his assistant, ruled it out for off-side.

Faal was denied by McCracken just after and then, minutes after being denied by the flag, Whalley raced into the area from the left and curled the ball into the net -  a superb solo goal to bring Stanley level on 74 minutes.

Stanley appealed for a penalty when Pritchard went down on the edge of the box but nothing was given.

Then Rovers came back on 80 minutes when Biggins drilled the ball home from distance, in off the post, with McCracken unable to do anything about it.

It looked like Stanley’s chance had gone until a scrappy corner into the area found Conneely at the near post for his first goal since February 2021.

It means the two sides will meet again the week after next to battle for a second round spot.

 

Stanley: McCracken, Longelo, Rich-Baghuelou, Hills, Mellor (Lowe), Martin (Conneely), B Woods (Nolan), Whalley, Pritchard, Leigh, Andrews (Adedoyin)

Subs: McIntyre, Shipley, Gubbins, Pickles, J Woods

 

Yellow: B Woods, Hills, Leigh


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