Leslie Adekoya scoring his first Accrington Stanley goal but the battling Reds lost their Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round clash 3-1 to Premier League Leeds United at the Wham Stadium in front of a full house.
The Reds were live on the BBC and gave a good account of themselves against Jesse Marsch’s side who had £35m record signing Georginio Rutter making his debut.
But two goals in two second half minutes ultimately killed the game off for the Reds – although the revenue brought in from the FA Cup tie will now help their battle to survive in League One.
It was another great occasion at the Wham Stadium – there have been a few in the past with Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Burnley and Fulham all visitors to Accrington in cup competitions over the years and it was a good showcase for Stanley.
They had kept it tight with just Jack Harrison’s superb strike separating the sides at the break – but the Premier League side showed their quality in the second half although Adekoya’s late show gave the Reds fans a moment to remember.
Stanley started on the front foot but Sean McConville’s shot was straight at Illan Meslier while Shaun Whalley had a strike blocked.
Leeds record signing Rutter almost had a dream start to his debut but fired narrowly wide in a good position on eight minutes in the first attack for United.
McConville found Meslier’s arms again while Whalley also tested the Leeds goalie.
Leeds opened the scoring on 23 minutes when Harrison unleashed a shot from 25 yards out and found the far corner of Toby Savin’s goal.
At the other end, Stanley broke quickly and Aaron Pressley forced a save out of Meslier and Whalley’s ball in was spilt by Meslier but no one could capitalise.
Luis Sinisterra’s strike crashed against the post, via a fingertip save by Savin, while Patrick Bamford’s effort was saved well by Savin.
The Reds keeper denied Rutter from distance while Ramus Kristensen drove the ball across the goal and wide as the half ended 1-0 to the visitors.
Leeds fan Harvey Rodgers had an early chance just after the break when the ball came him in the area but his strike was over while Meslier got there just before Whalley could pounce on another Reds’ attack.
Rodgers’ effort went narrowly wide from a corner as Stanley looked for an equaliser but Leeds were looking for a second and Bamford fired into the side netting while Sinisterra burst forward but rifled the ball into the Leeds fans.
Then two goals in two minutes killed the game off. It was two on 66 minutes when through a well-worked move between Bamford and Junior Firpo ended with Firpo stroking the ball into the far corner of the net.
Number three soon followed when Leeds charged down the left and the ball was played into the area where Sinisterra had a comfortable finish.
Bamford and Rodrigo were kept out by Savin as Leeds looked for more.
John Coleman put on four subs on 80 minutes and it paid off immediately when two combined on 81 minutes. Seb Quirk's cross was stroked home by teenager Adekoya, for his first Stanley goal.
It was in front of the Stanley fans in the Farleys Solicitors Clayton End and it was a fantastic moment for the youngster, who headed over moments later as he looked for a second.
While it ended in defeat, it was another historic day for Accrington Stanley.
Stanley: Savin, Astley, Tharme (Pickles), Rodgers, Longelo (Nolan), Coyle, Whalley (Woods), Hamilton, McConville (Quirk), Leigh, Pressley (Adekoya)
Subs: Jensen, Perritt, Martin, Fernandes
Attendance: 5268 (2616)