The EFL League One match coming up this Saturday, 26 October 2019, between Accrington Stanley F.C. and Gillingham F.C. will take place at WHAM Stadium in Accrington, Lancashire, England. Accy comes off of a match on Wednesday in which they were defeated handily, 4-0, by Peterborough United F.C.. It was a difficult day to say the least for The Reds, as they started the day with 2 key defenders suspended, and lost 2 more to injury in the first half against The Posh. The loss dropped them to 18th place in the table, which is one place behind The Gills. In their most recent match, Gillingham fought to a 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury Town F.C. on Tuesday. That point earned in the draw gave them 15 for the season, which is one more than Accrington's 14 points. In terms of goal difference, The Gills +2 on the season rates better than their place in the table. Accrington's differential took a hard hit against Peterborough, and they are now -8 on the season, and twice as far in the red as they were at the beginning of the week.
Ultimately, for both of the clubs, the biggest problem this year has been settling for too many draws, and not enough wins. Each has won only 3 of their first 14 matches, while Accrington has drawn 5 times, and Gillingham 6. In terms of recent form, both clubs have been all over the board. Accrington has 2 wins in the past 5 matches, including an impressive upset of Ipswich Town F.C.. The Gills has won just 1 time over their past 5 games, and that win came against Southend United F.C., who have been the poorest side in the league. Gillingham has as struggled to score recently. In their last 4 matches, their 3 goal output against Southend (a club that has conceded 40 goals in 14 matches), accounts for all of the goals that they have scored, as the were shut out in the other 3 matches. In spite of these recent struggles, the totals on the season have Gillingham with 2 more goals scored, and 8 fewer conceded on the year.
Accrington Stanley vs Gillingham Vital Information
This match can be viewed on Accrington Stanley iFollow in the United States, at 10:00 AM U.S. ET/3:00 PM GMT.
Referee appointments have John Busby as the referee, with assistants Graeme Fyvie and Helen Byrne, and the fourth official Kevin Mulraine.
Accrington will have Jerome Opoku back after he missed Wednesday due to suspension for yellow card accumulation, but Ross Sykes will be suspended for a second consecutive match. It's been reported that forward Courtney Baker-Richardson, who has been out with a hamstring injury was back in training this week, but not match fit yet.
This will be the 12th meeting all time between Accrington Stanley F.C. and Gillingham F.C.. In the previous 11 meetings, Gillingham has won 5, Accrington has won 3, and there has been 3 draws. The most recent result was a 0-0 draw on 29 January 2019 at Gillingham. The Gills have a 4 game unbeaten streak over Accy, with the last win by The Reds coming all the way back in 2012.
Five Points That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked
Looking at the Gills roster this season, perhaps that thing that jumps off the page at you the most is not is who there, but who isn't there. At this, or any level guys that can score 20+ goals in a season hardly grow on trees. The Gills lost such a guy this offseason when Tom Eaves, who lead the club in scoring last year with 21 departed for Hull City A.F.C.. Eaves was the only player to hit double figures in goals last season, and account for a third of their 61 goals scored total. On the opposite end of the field, goalkeeper Tomas Holy started all 46 matches for them last season, but he has of course departed for The Tractor Boys. Holy has been the backstop for what has been best defense in the league this year, so that speaks for itself in terms of what a loss he is. To replace Eaves up front, they brought in Scottish striker Alex Jakubiak. He played in League One for the Bristol Rovers F.C. in League One last season, but scored just 2 goals in almost 1500 minutes. At 22-years-old he is still early in his career, but has never scored more than 5 goals in a season at any of his prior starts. He is off to a decent start this season, and leads the club in scoring with 4 goals and 1 assist, but it seems doubtful that he can match the production the got from Eaves. In net, they brought in another guy who played for the Bristol Rovers last season in Jack Bonham. He has impressed so far this season, posting a nearly 67% save percentage, and just 1.21 goals allowed per 90 minutes, while starting all 14 games for The Gills this season.
The other starting forward for Gillingham is Brandon Hanlan, who was second on the club last year with 9 goals. So far this year he has 2 goals and 2 assists, which puts him second on the team in goal involvement behind Jakubiak. Mikael Ndjoli has also been getting playing time up front recently, and has 2 goals this season. In all, The Gills have 5 different players with 2 goals this season, and it seems as if they are going to need to rely a big on contribution by committee this season lacking a proven striker on the roster. Overall, the squad has seen wholesale changes in recent years, and a majority of Gillingham's players are in their first or second year with the club. However, one guy they can always count on is center back Max Ehmer. In his 6th season as a regular starter with the club, Ehmer is not only their longest tenured player, but is also the only outfield player to have played every minute of every game for The Gills this season.
As mentioned above, Accrington will be happy to have defensive starter Opoku back in the fold, especially since reserves Zaine Francis-Angol and Joe Maguire were both injured on Wednesday. The Accy defense was coming off of their finest performance of the year, in getting a clean sheet against The Tractor Boys. However, they are a club that relies on the consistency of being able to start the same guys every week. Missing 2 of their regulars, and then ultimately having their replacements injured against the top scoring team in the league was a recipe for disaster, and ended up being just that on Wednesday. I expect Accy to start Opoku, along with Callum Johnson and Mark Hughes on the back line, with Ajibola Alese, who played well on Wednsday, in again in place of Sykes. With Opoku back, and against a Gills team that has been struggling to score, it should be a much easier day between the woodwork for Dimitar Evtimov on Saturday.
It is going to be important that Evtimov and the defense are at their best on Saturday, because Stanley is lacking a bit of scoring punch up front due to injury. The most notable of which is a non-football injury, and that of course is longtime striker Billy Kee's ongoing battle with depression. I have avoided talking about this situation for the most part, as it is a situation that is much more important than football. However, it was confirmed by Accrington management this week that Kee will not play for Stanley this season, so I did want to at least pass along that updated news. Kee is not only a legend and a Hall of Famer with the club, but he scored 13 goals for Accy last season, and they did not sign a veteran up front in the offseason. They do however, have a number of talented youngsters up front. The best of them so far has been Colby Bishop, who leads the club in scoring with 6 goals. However, Bishop has been bothered by a groin strain, and had to be subbed off late against Peterborough. Dion Charles has 3 goals for Accrington this year, but seems to have fallen out of favor with manager John Coleman after a particularly poor half against Oxford United F.C.. Charles was subbed out at halftime in that match, and has only been used briefly as a sub in the 3 matches since. Offrande Zanzala has started each of the 3 matches since. He continues to be one of those guys who looks great coming off the bench as an impact player, but seems to struggle as a starter. Another guy that they brought in to play up front is Conor Simpson, but has been ineffective in limited action. Reports have it that nothing the staff has seen on the training pitch points to Simpson being ready to make an impact anytime soon. It doesn't sound like it will be on Saturday, but in the near future Coleman should have Baker-Richardson, or CBR, who looked good early in the year back in the fold. It will be important to see how CBR performs between now and January, as that will be a determining factor as to whether or not a striker will need to be added in January.
Looking at the betting line, has Accrington favored. This itself isn't particularly surprising given that they are at home, but the margin which they are favored by is a bit eye opening. Considering the The Gills have a far better goal difference and are 1 point ahead in the standing, you would expect the odds to be fairly even on both clubs, but Gillingham at 23/10 is paying out a nearly 2 and a half to 1. That is a line that tells me the oddsmakers do not see The Gills coming out of WHAM Stadium with 3 points tomorrow. The Accy line of 21/20 has a bet on them paying at just better than even money, while a draw is coming off at a fairly mundane 12/5. Reading this line, it tells me that the oddsmakers feel like this could be either an Accy win, or a draw, and they are hoping people will load up money on Gillingham to win so that they can cover whichever of those 2 they have to pay out. Ultimately, this is a stay away game all around, the line clearly says to stay away from betting on Gillingham, but doesn't tell you they are too confident Accy will win, or think a draw is more likely than average. Last week I felt like it was going to be a high scoring game and advised the a bet on over 3 goals scored might be the one to look at, and that game through with Peterborough's 4 goal at 90+5. This time I am going to opposite and saying this will be a low scoring match, especially with both clubs on short rest. Most books are paying out about 2 to 1 on a bet of under 2.5 goals, and I think everything stacks up to see that come in on Saturday.
Accrington Stanley Project Starting XI
- GK - Dimitar Evtimov
- RB - Callum Johnson
- CB - Mark Hughes
- CB - Ajibola Alese
- LB - Jerome Opoku
- MF - Seamus Conneely
- MF - Sam Finley
- MF - Jordan Clark
- MF - Joe Pritchard
- F - Dion Charles
- F - Colby Bishop
Gillingham F.C. Projected Starting XI
- GK - Jack Bonham
- RB - Jack Tucker
- CB - Mark Ehmer
- CB - Connor Ogilvie
- LB - Thomas O'Connor
- MF - Alfie Jones
- MF - Stuart O'Keefe
- MF - Mark Byrne
- MF - Ollie Lee
- F - Alex Jakubiak
- F- Brandon Hanlan
Accrington Stanley vs Gillingham Prediction
I think this is a match where both managers are going to play things conservatively. This is a game that both of these clubs have probably marked off on their calendar as one they need points out of. Neither team is an offensive juggernaut by any means, and to compound the issue, Gillingham has been struggling profoundly on offense, and Accy is riddled with injuries up front. When these clubs met last season, the results were a 2-0 Gillingham win at Accrington, and more recently, the scoreless draw at Gillingham in January. I see no reason to think that a match-up that produced 2 goals in 180 minutes last year is going to suddenly turn into a shootout this year. I could easily see this game ending in a draw, especially considering these clubs have combined for 11 of them our of 28 combined games this year. A 0-0 or 1-1 result would not surprise me in the least, but Accy looks a team on the verge of making a move up the standings if they can avoid anymore key injuries. I think that Dimi gets his 3rd clean sheet of the year on Saturday, and Joe Pritchard nets the winner for Accy sometime early in the 2nd half.
Prediction: Accrington - 1 Gillingham - 0