FRIENDLY games can sometimes lack many thrills and spills with a glut of triallists and the players battling for match fitness.
But Accrington Stanley's annual pre-season clash against Coca Cola Championside Burnley on Saturday was nothing like that.
It was fiercely competitive game, with flashes of brilliance and there was plenty to talk about with several Red triallists impressing the watching 1,709 crowd for the early run-out.
New signing Julien N'Da looked comfortable in the centre back slot alongside Michael Welch, Gary Roberts showed he had lost none of his appetite for the game despite recent transfer speculation and midfielder Simeon Howell and striker Jason Walker, both trying to impress, gave boss John Coleman food for thought as he ponders his League Two squad.
Stanley used A different team in each half against Steve Cotterill's side and certainly stunned the higher league club by racing into a two-goal lead through Andy Mangan and David Brown.
But Burnley came back in the second half to chalk up a 3-2 win with ex-Blackburn winger Alan Mahon and new signing Steve Jones providing a real test for the changed Stanley backline after the interval.
Reds boss Coleman said: "On the balance of play I thought we did quite well. It is disappointing to lose after being 2-0 up and I know people say pre-season results don't matter but I want to win every game we play. There were a lot of positives to take out of the game. Simeon and Chris (Sargeant) did well in midfield and Jason Walker did well up front in the first half.
"It is hard for the players who come on in the second half as our new eleven had everything to lose as we were 2-0 up and Burnley's changed side had nothing to lose as they had not got their side into that losing position.
"They scored with two good free kicks but I don't think we did an awful lot wrong in the second half.
"They (Burnley) had to chase the game and all credit to them for doing that. It was difficult for Sean (Doherty) after Gary (Roberts) had done so well in the first half but he showed flashes with a couple of good runs and good crosses into the box and Julien (N'Da) did well in the first half.
"Overall I was pleased with how we approached the game. They had some well established names in the first half and we made it uncomfortable for them and we showed what we were about in pressing them, winning the ball and making chances. We looked quite strong and we will only get better."
Triallists used included Simeon Howell, 20, a former Reading midfielder who has been on loan at Forest Green; Chris Sergeant is an Ex-Everton trainee who plays in the centre of the park; striker Jason Walker, 26, has been at Dundee and Greenock Morton; defender Ashley Foyle is ex-Chesterfield; goalkeeper Aaron Ratchford has played for Stoke while Neil Smith is a former Great Harwood Town striker.
Conference champions Stanley had the best start when a Phil Edwards ball found Walker who raced into the area and squared it for Mangan to slot home.
Howell tried his luck twice from range while Burnley had a couple of long range efforts which didn't test Rob Elliot.
Roberts caused Duane Courtney trouble and, just before half-time, he made one of his mazy runs into the area. He was tripped by John McGreal for a certain penalty but the referee waved play on as Brown pounced on the loose ball and fired past Brian Jensen.
2-0 up and Stanley were bossing the game but it was all change after the break. Tricky wideman Mahon piled the pressure on Stanley's back line and speedy Jones made life uncomfortable for Robbie Williams and Foyle in the new-look centre of defence.
Within 10 minutes of the re-start, Jones was brought down by Peter Cavanagh and Mahon fired in the resulting 20 yard free kick which hit the underside of the bar and bounced out for Andy Gray to finish off.
Three minutes later, Mahon found Jones who outwitted the Reds defence and slotted home the equaliser.
And, on 70 minutes, Mahon fired a brilliant free kick into the net from 25 yards after an Andy Procter handball to give the Championship side the lead.
Rommy Boco, on his 21st birthday, and Smith didn't see a lot of the ball up front and new boy Sean Doherty and Andy Todd swapped wings but couldn't find a way through the Burnley back line.
And Jones should have made it four 10 minutes from time after another ball sent him free but he amazingly fired inches wide of Elliot's open goal.
STANLEY TEAM 1ST HALF: Elliot, Ventre, Edwards, N'Da, Welch, Howell, Sargeant, Brown, Mangan, Walker, Roberts. 2ND HALF: Ratchford, Cavanagh, Williams, Foyle, Richardson, Todd, Craney, Procter, Doherty, Boco, Smith.