STANLEY managed to brighten up a low-key Johnstone’s Paints Trophy affair with a convincing second half display against Shrewsbury on a miserable night at the Crown Ground.
Strikes from Gary King and Dean Winnard lifted the mood among the home supporters, the defender’s effort in particular raising welcome smiles after a forgettable opening 45 minutes.
Winnard was in the right place at the right time as he met a cross, to double Stanley’s lead. By his own admission, it was not the most accomplished of finishes.
"The goal came as a bit of a surprise – it went in off my shin – and for some stupid reason I ran off doing a Jurgen Klinsmann celebration!" said Winnard, who started in central defence.
"This competition offers something different to the league and a trip to Wembley would be great for everyone.
"We were a bit sloppy in the first half and the manager told us as much at half time. But we stepped it up in the second half and I thought we were by far the better team in the end."
Phil Edwards prevented a certain goal nine minutes in when a poor pass from Peter Murphy was intercepted by Lewis Neal, who cut infield and fired goalward. His effort was heading towards the top corner of the net until Edwards stuck his head in the way.
Billy Kee hit a rasping volley from 25 yards, forcing a one-handed save from Neal, pushing the spectacular effort over the crossbar.
Kee had another opportunity minutes later after a good interchange with Symes. This time, however, Kelvin Langmead threw himself into the path of the ball and deflected the effort.
Minutes into the second half Accrington had the lead. Edwards’ free kick from the left prompted an attempted scissor kick by Kee – he missed the ball completely but Symes was able to tee up Gary King who fired home from 10 yards.
Shrewsbury barely had time to regroup when Stanley added a second, Peter Winnard turning Bobby Grant’s cross into the net from close range.
Winnard prevented a goal at the other end when he flung himself into the path of Nathan Elder’s shot and seconds later substitute Will Richards had a rising shot tipped over the bar.
Andre Gray’s effort was saved, Elder blasting the rebound wide of the target.
Shrewsbury looked better for the introduction of Richards and Gray, though Jimmy Ryan contined to run the game from midfield.
The persistent Kee saw another effort saved by Neal.
A competition that struggles to capture the imagination in the early rounds gets more interesting next month – victory against Shrewsbury set up a northern section quarter-final clash against Bury.
Accrington: Martin, Procter, Kee (Joyce 88), Grant, Edwards, Ryan, Winnard, Symes, Murphy, King, Lees. Subs not used: Dunbavin, McConville, Turner, Rile
Shrewsbury: Neal, Coughlan, Langmead, Elder, Bright (Gray 56), Leslie (Simpson 66), Hooman, Neal, Cansdell-Sherriff, Ladabie (Richards 56), McIntyre. Subs not used: Arestidou, Taylor