Manager James Beattie hailed his Stanley players after enjoying a 3-2 home win against AFC Wimbledon last Saturday to finish 15th in League Two.
The Reds looked down and out after failing to win in their first 12 league games of the season.
But they gradually climbed away from relegation trouble and victories in their last two games saw them finish well clear of the drop zone. Stanley ended up seven points above the bottom two as a Bristol Rovers side with far greater resources than Accy went down on the final day.
Beattie and most of his players had their families at the ground for Saturday’s win and they were joined on the pitch by their children as the Reds applauded the Stanley fans following the final whistle.
“They’ve worked so hard to get where they are and to be feeling like they are today,” said Beattie.
“It’s great to see the lads’ families here, to see the children, and I said to them after the game that they’ve done themselves and their families proud, as well as the badge.
“It’s great for the club, it’s the highest position we’ve been in all season. Now we’re going into the clubhouse to do the awards, then they’ll go on a well-earned holiday.
“Everybody’s contributed in some way. I wanted to create an environment where the players knew they had to support those in the team because at some point they’d be in the team and would need support from other players as well.
“For a group of 24 players, to come back from the huge adversity they came back from, it showed people’s character and brought out what I wanted to see, what I knew the lads had inside them. They’ve made me proud and it should make themselves and their families proud too.”
Kayode Odejayi got the party started, scoring an early opener to finish the season with two goals in two games and eight in total during his loan spell from Rotherham.
“Kayode capitalised on a mistake at the back,” Beattie added. “That’s what we’ve been trying to get him to do for a few weeks because he’s got that in his locker.
“He’s unbelievably fast when he opens his legs, no-one’s going to catch him, and he finished his goal off tremendously well.”