THERE is no such thing as a friendly in Reds boss John Coleman’s eyes.

Stanley took on UniBond side Burscough on Tuesday night and a 1-1 draw – with Stanley fielding almost a different side in each half – was not good enough for the Reds chief.

"It may be a friendly but we still want to win. We had enough chances to win 10 games and it is something I am trying to hammer home to the players," he said.

"I have had a go at them and told them in no uncertain terms that we have got to start being ruthless in front of goal.

"We are too blase and we have got to start realising how important it is to score goals.

"We have got to get into the winning habit early. The amount of chances we squandered was embarrassing."

Transfer-listed Paul Mullin started up front alongside Bobby Grant and, along with winger John Miles, they created a host of chances. Linnets keeper Zak Jones pulled off a string of superb saves but couldn’t keep out a cut back from Miles which Grant fired home.

New signing Luke Joyce partnered Alan Burton in midfield while Dean Winnard, another new boy, was in a makeshift back line with triallists Lewis Field, an ex-Wigan trainee, former Blackpool defender Ross Lloyd and Andy Pearson.

The Reds also gave a run out to keeper Bryn Halliwell – a London-born keeper who has played in the Scottish Leagues with Dunfermline, St Johnstone, Hamilton and Queen of the South. The 29-year-old was recommended to Stanley by ex-keeper Kenny Arthur but he didn’t have much to do at Victoria Park.

Only Miles and Halliwell survived into the second half as Coleman fielded a more established side including the likes of Chris King – still to sign a new deal – Peter Murphy, Phil Edwards and Andy Procter.

Up front, new signing Michael Symes was given a run out alongside another trialist Gary King, who was at Lincoln last season.

The 19-year-old showed some good touches, curling one effort just wide, being denied by Jones and having a thumping header ruled out for off-side.

It was one-way traffic but then Burscough won a free kick about 20-yards out and Steve Williams’ shot took a deflection and wrong-footed Halliwell for the equaliser on the hour.

There were some skills on show from Burscough sub Matty Parry who, at the death, was denied giving the home side a morale-boosting win after rifling a shot against the woodwork.

"We did play some entertaining stuff," continued Coleman. "But what we have got to understand is that we have got to play to a high standard at all times.

"We could play Burscough in the FA Cup and we could have lost that game and cost the club a lot of money. So it’s not acceptable – you have got to get yourself focused on winning games and, when you are on top, you have got to take your chances.

"We didn’t last season and we have got to learn that lesson.

"We shouldn’t go into this season thinking we will struggle. The fans, management and players have got to have high expectations and expect more and then we could go onto better things."


* STANLEY beat Maidstone 2-0 on Saturday with goals from Miles and Peter Cavanagh
* STANLEY'S ground looks likely to revert to the Crown Ground for next season as the club still look for sponsorship.