HOLDERS Stanley maintained a less than secure grip on the Lancashire FA United Co-op Challenge Cup as they limped past Ramsbottom to reach the quarter-finals.
Boss John Coleman understandably rung the changes with only Robbie Williams and Romuald Boco asked to continue from the side which beat Altrincham last Saturday.
There were useful run-outs for Andy Dibble, Peter Cavanagh, Danny Ventre and Andy Mangan, with summer signing Andy Tretton making a welcome first start in a competitive game following knee surgery.
But while Stanley did what they had to, those who watched from the bench or the warmth of the clubhouse will not be immediately fearing for their places after a low-key performance in which veteran player-coach was the outstanding performer.
Cook did his best to turn it into a one-man show as he dominated possession, unfurled his full repertoire of passing and launched a late, single-handed assault on the Ramsbottom goal which had a lucky escape when he cracked a 30-yard volley against the post.
Stanley hit the woodwork three times and tested Ramsbottom keeper Martin Campbell on a couple of further occasions. But this was far from a one-sided affair and Accrington needed a penalty from Cavanagh at the end of the first-half to see of stubborn Ramsbottom resistance.
The North West Counties League side arrived at the Interlink Express Stadium on Tuesday night on the back of an impressive run of just one defeat in 14 games and pushed their supposedly superior opponents all the way.
"These are difficult games," admitted Coleman. "You're there to be shot at and you're expected to win. Ramsbottom played really well. We looked a bit disjointed with the amount of changes we made, but I am pleased.
"We kept on going and kept another clean sheet and Andy Dibble has made a couple of good saves so it's quite pleasing."
Ramsbottom could easily have snatched the lead as only a Danny ventre block spared the blushes of Dibble after he had spilled an Anthony Johnson shot.
The big Welshmen did make amends, though, with a save from Matt Walsh shortly afterwards and then in the second-half made a fine block from substitute Steve MacDonald. Dibble had also been lively in coming off his line to avert danger, clearing from Cartridge and then forcing MacDonald to go wide and shoot against a post when the possibility of extra-time beckoned.
Stanley had gone ahead from the spot after Andy Mangan had been upended by John Blackley and looked more threatening after the break when they took a slightly more direct approach in their quest to kill off the tie. Boco, Cook and young substitute Shaun Tierney all struck wood before Mangan was thwarted by Campbell and George Donnelly missed a last-minute sitter after coming off the bench.
Accrington: Dibble, Ventre, Williams, Tretton, Cavanagh, O'Neill (Donnelly 67), Boco, Cook, Lodge (Tierney 63), Brown, Mangan. Substitutes not used: Welch, Jagielka, Mullin.
Ramsbottom: Campbell, Massey, Blackley, Webster, Dervish, Price (Hartley 74), Mcmanus, Walsh, Cook, Cartridge (Barnes 74), Johnson (MadDonald 59).
Referee: Andrew Butler (Wigan).