Accrington Stanley 1 Burnley 1: ALL THE Burnley eyes were on the returning Robbie Blake - but the Accrington fans were cursing the striker after he denied the Reds what would have been an early season boost with victory over their Championship rivals.
The Reds looked on course for what would have been a memorable friendly win in their first real test against stronger opposition after triallist Jason Walker had given Stanley the lead.
But instead Blake, the ex-Claret signed the day before for £250,000 from Leeds United, saw his deflected effort wrong-foot Kenny Arthur in goal three minutes from time to make it a heroes return for the hitman.
Reds manager John Coleman was dejected with the last ditch goal despite seeing his side play some neat passing football and look strong in the early stages of their pre-season campaign.
"We let them get into the box quite cheaply and it was a soft goal," said Coleman.
"I like to win every game and I am disappointed we didn't win but it was a good work out.
"We will have a look at a couple of the triallists again and the lads have got 45 minutes under their belts. When we go to Scotland we will try and give the lads full games."
It was testament to how well Stanley played - even though they played almost two different teams each half - that Burnley boss Steve Cotterill had his wealth of firepower on show at the end.
Blake, Ady Akinbiyi, Alan Mahon, Andy Gray and Kyle Lafferty were all on the pitch in the final 10 minutes in the hunt for that elusive equaliser as the Clarets did not want to suffer a loss to their lower league neighbours.
This was especially in front of a bumper 3225 fans on a day of rare nice weather - and Stanley chairman Eric Whalley must have been happy with Blake's late signing to encourage a few more Clarets fans along.
For the Stanley supporters, they got their first real chance to see some of the new signings and must have been impressed with what was on show.
Paul Carden made some incisive passes from midfieldf; John Miles had a couple of mazy run at goals; Kenny Arthur made his presence known in goal while Mark Roberts won Coleman's praise in defence.
Graham Branch is still getting back to fitness and did not play against the club he left in the summer while striker Roscoe Dsane was rested due to his wife having a baby.
And, as expected, there were some trialists with a French winger, known only as "Aziz" impressing with some bustling runs and threatening set pieces while Walker, who came on trial last season, made his bid for a contract with an early goal.
This came within fourminutes when Carden's ball sent right winger Aziz through and his cross was put home at the third attempt by Walker after Burnley's debutant keeper Gabor Kiraly and a defender threw themselves in front of the initial shots.
In the home defence, Stanley had a Greek trialist who kept tabs on Blake early on while regular centre half Robbie Williams made sure Akinbiyi had little space.
And Aziz made Kiraly work the hardest with two free kicks both from around 30 yards which the Hungarian keeper had to finger-tip over.
Stanley's goalie Ian Dunbavin stuck his foot out twice in the first half to deny Burnley in his first outing for the Reds this season while Rommy Boco, on the right wing, took the ball down really well and would have scored an early contender for goal of the season but blasted over.
It was a good first half from a strong Reds team against what was mostly Burnley's first choice line-up.
Coleman changed it all around after the break, leaving only captain Peter Cavanagh on from the first half.
Burnley only made minor changes and they did start to press with most Clarets fans happy with their first glimpse of new Albanian signing Besart Berisha with Lafferty and Gray also looking to make an impression.
However, Stanley's new look defence - with Cavanagh, Roberts, Polish centre half Marcin Staniek and Phil Edwards - kept out the Championship side.
And Stanley did threaten themselves with a bustling striker known only as "Victor" and Northwich Victoria's Tom Rutter up front.
Miles was lively on both wings while David Brown played in midfield - a role the Reds fan may see him play more of this season.
However then Blake, who Cotterill put back on with ten minutes to go, chipped in a shot which rebounded off Gray, duped Kenny and looped into goal.
There was a bit of drama at the end with Staniek falling to the ground after a clash with Akinbiyi but it didn't spoil a lively game between the two sides.
"I am pleased with the new signings," said Coleman. "Paul (Carden) is a very experienced professional and knows the game well. He will be a good addition to the squad.
"John Miles has a lot of quality about him and when we do see the best of him he will be a treat for the fans.
"And Mark Roberts acquitted himself well again as he did against Clitheroe last week."
STANLEY: Dunbavin, Cavanagh, Richardson, Williams, Procter, Carden, Boco, Walker, McGivern, Arthur, Roberts, Edwards, Miles, Harris, Brown, Johnson, Rutter and three triallists.
BURNLEY: Kiraly, Foster, Duff, Caldwell, Harley, Elliott, Spicer, McCann, Mahon, Akinbiyi, Blake, Jensen, Gray, Lafferty, O'Connor, Kanara, Rodriguez, Berisha.