Ahead of our final game of 2012, it felt as though the lowest point of the season had been reached. We had only won three times in eighteen attempts and our luck seemed to have all but run out. Injuries and suspensions started to mount up and several first team players were forced out of action. A patched-up team lacking in confidence took to the field only to be beaten convincingly by a strong Rotherham team. We had failed to win in any of the seven games in December.
The transfer window was due to open imminently which would give our boss his first real chance to affect the team and make it his own. Leam Richardson vowed in his post-match comments that he would work quickly in order to improve the team’s fortunes and that he did - full back Nicky Hunt was signed on a month’s loan and cleared to play on New Year’s Day.
The home game against Chesterfield brought former manager Paul Cook back to the Crown Ground for the first time since his departure. For people involved with the club, there were handshakes and shared memories of a job well done. For fans who saw their team abandoned by the ambitions of a modern football manager, the urge to get that elusive win was all the more strong.
A balanced starting eleven took to the field for Stanley and began brightly. A functional yet fluid 4-4-2 formation brought the best out of our players and we stamped our authority as the home team. We had to defend well against the Spirites and the heroics of goalkeeper Cameron Belford typified the determination of the group. As we ran out winners due to a brilliant Boco goal, a great sense of relief was felt.
2012 will be remembered as a year of great change for our little club and one of mixed fortunes. The year ahead may hold challenges but hopefully January 1st 2013 will go down as the day that Leam Richardson turned Accrington Stanley’s season around.
On, Stanley, On.