The NPL Football Academy’s inter-league team played it’s second game on Thursday 19th May against Accrington Stanley at a rainy Seel Park, home of Mossley FC.
Students representing Belper Town, Kidsgrove Athletic, Leek Town, Matlock Town, Mickleover Sports, Mossley and Warrington Town were selected for the fixture which was managed on the night by Matlock Town Academy Head Coach Jamie Yates and his two assistants James Holmes and Martin Dewberry.
After a superb victory over Oldham Athletic in the first game, confidence was high from the squad with eight students who were involved in that victory taking part in this second game.
Accrington’s youth set up has vastly improved over the last few years and their squad contained players who have just been offered professional deals and also a couple who made the bench for the football league side this season.
Stanley took an early lead after 6 minutes through Jack Williams with a smart finish. It wasn’t the start the NPLFA side wanted but they responded immediately with efforts from Sam Arnold, Max Hunt and an Euan Woods free kick which was parried by Jack Little.
Williams doubled his tally and his sides lead with a predators finish in the 26th minute. The NPLFA had an opportunity to immediately respond when a lovely whipped in ball by Woods found Antonio Din Chin, but his header was parried away by Little.
The goal of the game came in the 32nd minute when Joseph Roberts hit an unstoppable shot from 25 yards to leave Corey Bulheller stranded as it flew into the top corner.
Two chances for either side before the break could have changed the game. First Stanley’s Keelan Steenson struck the post with a sweet free kick and then a minute later Woods had the opportunity to bring his side back into the game but fired over from 10 yards.
The second half was a more even affair with little chances in the first 15 minutes, mainly due to the changes made by each side.
The game though was put to bed in the 60th minute when Steenson was upended in the box by Simran Shahi and he picked himself up to extend his sides lead.
To their credit, the NPLFA students kept their heads raised and Woods, Ryan Rowe, Sammy Hawes and Max Hunt all had efforts in the last 20 minutes but couldn’t get that goal their efforts had deserved.
It was another good test for the NPLFA students and another enjoyable evening despite the miserable weather.
TEAM: Corey Bullheller (Matlock Town), Sam Weston (Belper Town), Arron Woodward (Warrington Town), Sam Faulkner (Leek Town), Max Hunt (Matlock Town), Sam Arnold (Kidsgrove Athletic), Prince Owusu (Mossley), Euan Woods (Warrington Town), Antonio Din Chin (Mossley), Beckham Adelaje (Mossley), Sammy Hawes (Matlock Town)
SUBS: (All Used) Simran Shahi (Mickleover Sports), Aron McGrath (Warrington Town), Scott Taylor (Belper Town), Ryan Rowe (Kidsgrove Athletic), Dan Watson (Belper Town)