Kody Adedoyin fired home a 75th minute winner against Championship side Sunderland as Accrington Stanley finished their pre-season campaign on a high.
The Reds kick off their League One season next week at home to Charlton and a spot kick from Sean McConville and Adedoyin’s late goal gave John Coleman’s side a boost heading into the 2022/23 campaign.
They also had goalkeeper Lukas Jensen to thank for the win as he pulled off a number of stunning saves to keep the Black Cats at bay.
Coleman had to deal with a couple of minor injuries to defenders Ryan Astley and Jay Rich-Baghuelou with Michael Nottingham (tendon) having a longer spell on the sidelines.
With Colby Bishop’s departure to Portsmouth this week, Matt Lowe got the nod up front with Joe Pritchard supporting him.
The Reds forced the early pressure, winning a number of corners with one McConville flag kick punched away by keeper Anthony Patterson.
Sunderland’s best early chance came on nine minutes when Ross Stewart raced through but his shot was wide of the mark.
Both sides looked for the opener without really testing either goalkeeper until the 23rd minute.
Then Jensen pulled off a superb double save to keep out Stewart who was clean though and Jack Clarke who looked like he only had to stroke the ball home. Patrick Roberts also blasted over in a good position as the Black Cats upped the tempo.
The Burnley loan keeper kept out a header from Dan Neil soon after while Jensen pushed over a shot from Roberts.
The goalie then scrambled an Alex Pritchard corner off the line, Stewart headed just off-target and Archie Procter made a double block to keep out strikes from Clarke and Dennis Cirkin.
Sunderland were awarded a penalty for a foul by Harvey Rodgers on Clarke on 45 minutes. Stewart took it and fired past Jensen in injury time.
The Reds keeper was in action again in the second half, denying Clarke, and then he dived to keep out a Pritchard fierce free kick. Bailey Wright fired straight into Jensen’s arms soon after.
Stanley then came back and were awarded a penalty on 62 minutes for a foul on McConville by Bailey Wright and the winger stepped up and slotted home the spot kick.
The Reds continued to press and Harry Pell forced a save out of Patterson after Stanley appealed for a free kick for a foul on Triallist A.
Stanley went ahead on 75 minutes when striker Adedoyin pounced a loose ball in the area and slotted past Patterson.
Coleman’s side almost made it 3-1 with a scramble almost on the goalline on 78 minutes but Sunderland eventually cleared.
The Reds looked the more likely to add to the scoreline as both sides made the usual multiple changes but it was a good way to sign off the pre-season for Stanley.
Stanley: Jensen, Clark, Sangare, Rodgers, Procter, Coyle, Whalley, Hamilton, Lowe, Pritchard, McConville
Subs used: Perritt, Longelo, Leigh, Trialist A, Pell, Martin, Adedoyin, Conneely, O’Brien
Subs not used: Savin, Nolan, Fenlon
Attendance: 1782 (1050 from Sunderland)