Lancashire FA Marsden Trophy
JON Kennedy made a welcome return to Stanley's starting eleven in their comfortable Lancashire FA Marsden Cup victory over Atherton LR.
The Reds keeper broke his leg in training in early October and had to have an operation.
But he has been getting back to fitness and came on as a second half substitute as Stanley saw off the NWCL Division One side and sealed a third round place.
"It was nice to see Jon back," said manager John Coleman "He kicked well and made a good save so that is good."
The result was never in doubt at a blustery Crilly Park where a few hardy souls braved the weather.
Coleman introduced a new look line-up with Lee McEvilly partnering Robbie Williams in defence and Paul Howarth was the new strike partner of Paul Mullin.
And the game had barely kicked off before the Reds were 2-0 up. After just 48 seconds, Ian Craney had fired into the top of the net and, with two minutes on the clock, keeper Adam Lavin fumbled a Steve Flitcroft shot and the Reds were effectively through.
There was a slight worry when Flitcroft was adjudged to have fouled an Atherton player in the area and their top scorer Paul Crompton fired home from the penalty spot on 18 minutes - although Danny Alcock got his hand to it.
But Craney restored the two goal advantage on 27 minutes with a 25-yard stormer - although the keeper again might have done better.
McEvilly left his defensive role and did run half the length of the pitch to try and get in on the scoring act but he fired wide on the half hour.
And Atherton once more upset Stanley one minute later when Williams fouled Phil Howard in the area and they got their second penalty with Crompton again finding the middle of the net.
But the home side's joy was short-lived as Steve Jagielka then made sure he celebrated a goal. The keeper did well to save his initial shot with his legs on 33 minutes but it came out for the midfielder to blast the ball home for 4-2. A minute later and it was five when Jagielka set up Mullin and he stroked the ball home.
There was small bets as to how many goals the Reds would get as, although the wind was against them, they had the downward slope in the second half.
But they couldn't add to their tally. Paul Cook, playing the full 90 minutes, put in some dangerous free kicks, Howarth desperately tried to get on the scoresheet but Atherton did start to get on top.
The tried their luck with long range efforts and Kennedy - who came on with seven minutes to go - did well to push out a shot from dangerman Crompton.
"We showed a great appetite and enthusiasm for the game," said Coleman. "It would have been easy to come here, look at the pitch and the wind and not fancy it but one or two players dug in and the others took it on board. There was a good spirit and that's three consecutive wins now which we haven't done all season."
He added: "We decided to have a look at Lee (McEvilly) as a defender. He's quite adept at it in training and it was nice to look at it in a match. You never know when you might need to call on it."
- THE draw for the third round will be made on Friday. The teams through to round three so far are Burscough, Radcliffe Borough, Southport, Morecambe and Skelmersdale. Teams still to play are Atherton Collieries against Bamber Bridge and Barrow against Fleetwood.