Our first team fell to defeat against Accrington Stanley in their second game of pre-season at their training camp base in Cheshire.
This was the next stage in pre-season for Jack Ross’ side as they continued to build up their match fitness. The plan was for the starting XI to play for 60 minutes, before the rest of the lads featured for 30 minutes.
Alongside this, Kevin Nisbet was on the bench for the first time after returning from Euro 2020 with Scotland.
The game provided the physical demands that our head coach would’ve wanted with every ball being contested and a lot of hard yards being put in.
After a highly contested opening 10 minutes, in difficult conditions, it was our visitors who had the first half-chance. The ball fell kindly to Seamus Connely, who drew a smart save out of Kevin Dabrowski.
Our first opening fell around the 20 minute mark following an excellent piece of play and through ball by Paul McGinn. He tried to slip Jamie Gullan through one-on-one, but a last-ditch tackle halted our striker.
It was the visitors that had the best chance of the opening 45 minutes, though, Coby Bishop rose highest to meet a ball at the back post, but Dabrowski got down excellently to deny his effort at the near post.
A few half-chances followed as Gullan tried his luck from 25-yards, but no-one could find a break through.
Prior to the second half there was a welcome return to the squad for Josh Doig and Melker Hallberg. The pair joined up with their teammates for the first time during pre-season.
We made one planned change at the break as Ryan Porteous replaced Paul Hanlon.
Dabrowski was called into action early on in the second period, making a fantastic double save to keep the scores level. First he made himself big to deny Dion Charles’ effort, before getting up quickly to deny Bishop. Shortly after, Joe Pritchard fizzed an effort just past our ‘keeper’s post.
Just before the hour mark Gullan had a good opportunity. He worked hard to intercept a loose ball at the back, drove past a defender, but couldn’t beat the outstretching leg of the goalkeeper.
On the hour mark there was a flurry of changes, which saw the introductions of Chris Cadden, Alex Gogić, Scott Allan, Joe Newell, Jamie Murphy, Martin Boyle and Kevin Nisbet.
Immediately after Allan and Nisbet combined, the striker latched on to Scott’s through ball, but he couldn’t beat the ‘keeper.
With 15 minutes left, Nisbet had another good chance to give us the lead. The Scotland international beat his man to meet Cadden’s cross into the box, but he was excellently denied by Accrington ‘keeper, Toby Savin.
The final change saw Steven Bradley replace Darren McGregor, which meant Gogić slotted in at centre-half next to Porteous.
With just four minutes remaining Accrington Stanley scored the only goal of the game. Pritchard cut in from the left, around 20 yards out, and fired a right-footed effort into the back of the net.
The lads will now continue to work hard on the training pitches with the coaching staff before our training camp comes a close on Friday (9 July 2021) after our game against Stoke City.
𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗫𝗜: Dąbrowski, McGinn (Cadden, 60’), McGregor (Bradley, 75’), Hanlon (Porteous, 46’), Stevenson, Magennis (Gogic, 60’), Mallan (Newell, 60’), Wright (Boyle, 60’), Campbell (Allan, 60’), Mackay (Murphy, 60’), Gullan (Nisbet, 60’).
Unused 𝗦𝘂𝗯𝘀: Macey