STANLEY gave a good account of themselves before being knocked out of the Lancashire Senior Cup on Tuesday night.
Manager John Coleman mainly used youngsters and first-teamers who’ve been on the fringes since his return to the club, but he also gave game-time to James Gray following his three-match ban and new loan signing Lee Molyneux.
Coleman also used the first-round tie to assess former loanee Craig Roddan, who is on trial after being released by Liverpool, and fellow midfielder Anthony Barry, with a view to a loan move from Forest Green, which was confirmed on Wednesday.
And the Reds made a strong start against a Manchester United side which featured six players with first-team experience, two of them being in Louis van Gaal’s squad against Everton on Sunday - Tyler Blackett and James Wilson.
Centre-half Liam Goulding headed home from Molyneux’s early free-kick before John Roberts, 16, doubled Stanley’s lead on 22 minutes, with a header from a Molyneux cross.
United replied with Will Keane converting from Wilson’s left-wing cross before Wilson beat the offside trap to equalise just before half-time.
Molyneux went close from distance either side of the break. Ben Amos then clawed away Gray’s goalbound effort while George Bowerman lobbed a good chance wide.
And James Weir made them pay by curling United in front on 80 minutes before Keane pounced on a poor backpass to complete his hat-trick.
The Reds brought on Oscar Durnin, son of ex-Stanley man John, while Stanley legend Chris Grimshaw’s son, Liam, came on for United.
STANLEY: Simpson; Hatfield, Goulding, Roberts, Molyneux; Mingoia (Durnin 62), Roddan, Barry (Downey 78), McCartan; Bowerman, Gray (Windass 54). Subs: Evans, Durnin, Wolfenden. Attendance: 679.