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Firstly can I apologise for not updating for a while but I’ve had a lot going on.

Anyway on to the post. Last night I attended the Johnstone Paints Trophy Northern Section 2nd Round Accrington Stanley Vs Tranmere Rovers. In what was a decent atmosphere at a lovely old type of ground. All staff that I encounterd were so friendly and added to good nature of the Rovers fans.

The game started and was a well contested affair with Tranmere slightly on top. Yet Stanley took the lead through the best and most bizarre own goal I’ve ever seen. An enocuous ball was played forward when Zoom Backayogo tried to clear the ball, only for it to spoon up towards the goal. Although it looked like Fon Williams would claim the ball he dived down slowly. The odd thing is the only way I knew it was a goal was the fact the Stanley fans cheered.

Although Stanley had taken the lead Tranmere were the better team and created some good chances and were rewarded when a good Joss Labadie freekick was steered home by Ash Taylor at the back post. Rovers took the lead through a nice turn and shot by Mustafa Tyriaki with his first goal for the club.

It was at this time the game took a turn for the worse. As Lucas Akins challenged for a ball with the Stanley keeper Ian Dunbavin with young defender Tom Bender between them.

What happened next will live with many who were there for the rest of their lives as Bender fell to the ground and never moved. As two of his team mates hovered over him they quickly called for help as you could see the player was in a bad way.

As the crowd watched on several members of the Stanley medical team and also Tranmere physio Gregg Blundell rushed to Bender’s aid. The announcer informed the crowd that there would be a minimum of 8 mins added on, that was 7 for stoppage at that point and 1 for others. By this point Bender, who was making his first start of his career, still hadn’t moved.

As time ticked on it was decided to suspend play and take the players off the pitch into the warmth of the dressing rooms. Its worth noting at this point how well the Tranmere fans, including one an A and E Dr who jumped over the wall to help the stricken defender, behaved impeccably throughout. The same however couldn’t be said for a small amount of home supporters who started singing “why are we waiting”. Obviously to them at that point they weren’t aware of the severity of the problem.

It became apparent how bad the injury was when the player was hooked up to a drip and given oxygen after he had been moved into the recovery position. For over 25 mins the player remained in that position until they could move him onto a spinal board, a few minutes later to nice applause from all round the ground Bender was taken to the waiting ambulance outside the stadium.

Thankfully it seems despite some of the false rumours, the worst of which being a broken neck, the player suffered no worse than severe concussion and later regained conciousness in hospital it has been reported that he had been more worried about hospital staff having to cut his socks off.

Just after he was taken from the field of play the decision was taken by the referee with consultation of the managers the match was to be abandoned. On reflection this was completely the correct decision, as the delay by this point was around 40 mins. With 8 still to play in the 1st half alone and the possibility of a penalty shootout, and not withstanding the fact the players would probably be cold by this point. Also Dunbavin was in quite a bit of distress as it is thought his punch caused the indecent.

I would now however address an issue from last night was the fact it took so long for an ambulance to arrive. Apparently there was an ambulance at the ground but it wasn’t sufficiently equipped to deal with the injury that had been sustained. The question is why did it take so long for the correct one to arrive? Should there not be one on standby at a football ground for such events?

On a positive note, tonight Tom Bender is home ready to begin what will surely be a long road to recovery with  no more than a bad headache. He has also very little memory of what happened which is probably no bad thing. His family had also released a statemen on the Accrington Stanley website thanking everyone for their well wishes.

What is also a nice gesture from Stanley manager John Coleman to give Rovers a 1 goal head start. Now in all seriousness this would be great but I can’t see how in the spirit of the game Tranmere could accept, I doubt it would even be allowed by the League or the officials on the night.

I’ll now look forward to the rearanged game whenever that maybe I do know that the clubs have been in discussion today. It remains to be seen how they will go about compensating the fans in attendance who although fully aware of the seriousness of the situation paid to see a game of 90mins not 38. Also into the equation is the travelling expenses which in these tough times are not cheap.

Thanks for reading and hopefully I’ll be back to blogging regularly, as always comments are welcome and you can follow me on twitter at

Written by pegleg5125

06/10/2011 at 1:20 am

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