Jack Nolan’s 86th minute deflected strike gave Accrington Stanley victory over League One Carlisle United in the opening group game of the EFL Trophy.
The Reds made the semi-finals last season and will be looking to go one step further this time.
It looked like the match would go to penalties for the extra bonus point until Corey Whelan's own goal with four minutes of normal time to go sealed the match for Stanley.
Goalkeeper Jack McIntyre made his Reds debut while there were also first starts of the season for Dan Martin, Josh Woods, Kody Adedoyin and Matt Lowe.
Josh Woods and Martin had early chances but neither could find the target while Stanley goalie McIntyre superbly denied Joshua Kayode with his legs.
Adedoyin fired across the goal and narrowly wide then Alfie McCalmont’s strike came off Kayode and almost caught out McIntyre but the Reds keeper managed to turn the effort away.
Both sides then had half chances with Rosaire Longelo’s strike straight at United stopper Tomas Holy while McIntyre pushed away Jack Robinson’s effort.
McCalmont’s goalbound strike was hooked clear and Stanley went straight up the field with Nolan rifling wide.
McIntyre produced an important double save on 40 minutes to keep out close range strikes from Terry Ablade and Jayden Harris as it was all-square at the interval.
Nolan forced a save out of Holy early in the second half as his free kick on the edge of the area came close to breaking the deadlock.
It was Nolan who had the next clear-cut chance on 68 minutes when he ran forward with the ball but his 20-yard strike came back off the post.
Nolan charged through again later but his shot was collected by Holy.
Both sides made a host of substitutions as they looked to find the winning formula.
Stanley finally made the breakthrough on 86 minutes when Nolan’s strike from a tight angle took a deflection off Whelan and the ball nestled in the top of the net.
McIntyre denied Ryan Edmondson in seven minutes of added time while Longelo's looping strike hit the post - it was the second time Stanley had found the woodwork in the game.
In the other game in this group, Harrogate Town overcame Nottingham Forest Under 21s 2-1.
Stanley: McIntyre, Longelo, Hills, Quirk (Patrick), Gubbins, Nolan, Martin, Coyle (B Woods), J Woods (O’Brien), Adedoyin (Whalley), Lowe
Subs: Savin, Sloane, Pickles
Yellow: Hills, Coyle, Martin
Attendance: 888 (187 #cufc)