The EFL League One match coming up this Sunday, 20 October 2019, between Accrington Stanley F.C. and Ipswich Town F.C. will take place at WHAM Stadium in Accrington, Lancashire, England. The Tractor Boys are used to playing a tier or two higher than League One, and came into this season with lofty expectations. Thus far, they have lived up to them, and sit at the top of the table with an 8-3-0 mark through their first 11 matches. Not only are they unbeaten on the year, but their +16 goal differential is also the best in the league. For Accy, they currently find themselves at the opposite end of the table in 21st place, and would be the last team relegate if the season ended today. Their form has been better of late, but not quite good enough to earn 3 points on most afternoons, and settling for already 5 draws has allowed streaking AFC Wimbledon to pass them in the standings. Accrington sits on 11 points in 21st, and Wimbledon on 12 points in 20th, with Wimbledon having played 2 additional games, but with the Wombles on a 3 match winning streak, and Accy having won just twice all season, it is becoming situation critical for The Reds.
While Ipswich hasn't had much trouble scoring, with 21 goals in their first 11 games, it has been the defense that has been truly dominate. Their 5 goals allowed are by far the fewest allowed in the league, and less than half as many as the 12 allowed by Portsmouth F.C., who have the 2nd fewest conceded. They have recorded 7 clean sheets out of 11 matches and goalkeeper Tomas Holy has an otherworldly 83.3% save percentage. Ipswich has only allowed 2 goals in a game once this season, and that was against Peterborough United F.C., who currently lead the league in scoring with 30 goals. Accrington has not been particularly good on offense or defense this season. Their 21 goals allowed are the 5th most in the league, and 15 scored are tied for the 6th fewest. Ultimately, Accy is going to need to elevate their game on at least one side of the ball if they want to be able to come away from matches with 3 points.
Accrington Stanley vs Ipswich Town Vital Information
This match can be viewed on Accrington Stanley ESPN Plus in the United States, and SkySports in the UK at 7:00 AM U.S. ET/12:00 PM GMT.
Referee appointments have Sebastian Stockbridge as the referee, with assistants Craig Taylor and Alan Clayton, and the fourth official James Oldham.
On the injury front, Ipswich is likely to be without Flynn Downes who was injured during the international break, and Accrington expects both Sean McConville and Callum Johnson to miss a 2nd match in-a-row, and they also continue to be without forward Courtney Baker-Richardson.
This will be the 2nd meeting all time between Accrington Stanley F.C. and Ipswich Town F.C.. The other meeting between the clubs was in last season's FA Cup, and was a 1-0 Accrington win at WHAM Stadium on 5 January 2019.
Five Points That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked
Ipswich town is lead by the dynamic duo of Kayden Jackson and James Norwood. Jackson, who will be a familiar name to Accy supporters leads the club in scoring with 6 goals, and has added 2 assists. Norwood was one of the biggest splash signing of this offseason, coming over to The Tractor Boys, after leading League Two in scoring, and leading Tranmere Rovers F.C. to promotion last season. Thus far, it has paid big dividends, as Norwood has 5 goals and 2 assists in his first 11 matches with the club. To give an idea of just how active of a player he has been this year, he has already put 18 shots on target this season (Jackson has the next highest total on the club with 8). A surprise scoring threat for Ipswich this season has been defender Luke Garbutt. The Everton F.C. loanee, who has never scored more than 4 goals in a season, has 3 goals in just 5 starts this season.
Accrington is having a season where the end results have not quite matched the level of play. With a rebuilt roster that includes more than 15 new faces, it was always going to take times for things to mesh for Accy. The problem now is that although things have begun to click, and players are looking more comfortable in John Coleman's system, they can't seem to catch a break on the injury front. One of their most experienced players, and a guy who scored 15 goals last season, midfielder McConville has been in and out of the lineup all year. Additionally, Johnson, their regular starter at right back missed last week's match against Rochdale A.F.C., and it should be noted that both goals by The Dale started with Ian Henderson running free down the right side. With both of these key pieces expected to be out again on Sunday, what was always going to be a difficult match for Accy becomes decidedly more difficult.
On the bright side of things, attacking midfielder Joe Pritchard had what has to be the Accrington goal of the year so far last week. Pritchard, who has a Tottenham Hotspur F.C. academy pedigree, is a pure number 10, and is Accy's most gifted player from an attacking standpoint. However, for what he has in talent, he lacks in experience, and Coleman has been slow to integrate him into the lineup. It is clear though that The Reds are a different team from an attacking standpoint when he is on the pitch. Winger Jordan Clark is pacing for a career year so far, and has been Accrington's most consistent attacking player this season. Striker Colby Bishop leads the team in scoring with 4 goals, but early in the season had some big chances that he failed to cash in on. More recently, he has suffered from a lack of service, and has shown some frustration over it on the pitch. Ultimately a successful Accrington offense is going to have to involve Bishop getting proper service, and cashing it in when he does. Defender Jerome Opoku has 2 assists in the past 3 matches, and has been Accrington's best player week in and week out over the past month and a half. Last week he came out of the game late after suffering a number of minor injuries throughout the course of the match, but is expected to be on the pitch Sunday.
We talked about it a big above, but you just can't overstate how good The Tractor Boys have been on defense. As good as Holy has been in saving over 83% of his chances, he has only had to face 30 shots on target so far this season. By comparison, his counterpart for Accrington, Dimitar Evtimov has faced 52 shots against, with just 1 additional start. Their anchors on defense are center back Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse. Skuse slides back and forth between center back and defensive mid based on the formation, and leads the team in minutes played. Another strength is their overall squad depth, and that they have the ability to give guys a night off now and again. This is evidenced by the fact that only Holy, Skuse and Downes have started all 11 games for Ipswich. By comparison, Accrington has had 5 players start all 12 of those games, and that number would likely be 7 had Johnson and Bishop not each missed a match due to injury. Ultimately, this just proves what we already knew. That is that even though this is the deepest and most talented roster that Accy has ever run out on a pitch, they are still a long way behind a massive club like Ipswich in terms of squad depth.
Looking at the betting line, I have to say that I am a bit surprised. Ipswich is of course favored, but not by quite as much as I expected. With the way that Ipswich has been not allowing goals, and the way Accrington has been not scoring goals, I would think that this would be one that Ipswich was a runaway favorite in. As it turns out, Ipswich is currently listed at 20/21, meaning that you can get almost even money on them. Accrington is going off the board at 12/5, which is a similar line that they have had when playing as an underdog at home. The 12/5 on a draw doesn't really raise eyebrows too much, as its a fairly common line for a draw. Looking at this, I think something is up here, because this isn't just 1st place against 21st place, it's massive Ipswich against tin pot Accy. In other words, the layman is going to be betting on Ipswich naturally. At almost even money it's almost as if the bookmakers are begging you to bet Ipswich.
Accrington Stanley vs Ipswich Town Prediction
When I started writing this I was thinking I was going to probably pick Ipswich (just seemed like a bad match up for Accy), or at best a draw. However, after reading the line I think Accy pulls the shocker and hands The Tractor Boys their first loss of the season.
Prediction: Accrington Stanley - 1 Ipswich Town - 0