Sport

Andy's handy as Reds bounce back

STANLEY roared back from the thrashing at Gateshead to chalk up a nap hand of their own, scoring four times in a blistering first-half display.

ANDY Procter arrives to sidefoot home the second goal on Saturday at the Crown Ground

STANLEY roared back from the thrashing at Gateshead to chalk up a nap hand of their own, scoring four times in a blistering first-half display.

A goal right at the death completed the rout which has surely given John Coleman's team a much-needed shot in the arm after some disappointing results.

And any impending crisis of confidence must have been allayed by a performance which produced not only some dazzling goals but also a hard-earned clean sheet as Marine pressed bravely after their nightmare first 45 minutes.

Last week's 'villains', own-goal man Jonathan Smith and Jamie Speare, who had gifted Gateshead their opener with an uncharacteristic fumble, had special cause for satisfaction.

Smith scored Stanley's opener and then helped Speare, who looked unbeatable, to effect a shut-out.

Ironically, it might all have unfolded differently had Marine's David Thompson made more of a first minute collision in the area with Stanley captain Peter Cavanagh.

I've seen penalties given for less but Thompson's honesty in trying to keep his feet as he dashed into the box at pace may have counted against him.

Stanley hit the front as early as the seventh minute when Rory Prendergast's outswinging corner from the left was met by a typical soaring header by big defender Smith which seemed to be in the air forever before it looped gloriously into the top corner above the leap of the man on the post.

It was two on 19 minutes when the title favourites carved out a picture goal.

Lutel James, who had earlier tested Marine keeper Chris Conneally with a curling effort, held the ball up on half-way and spotted co-striker Paul Mullin bursting through the middle.

Mullin homed in on goal but when he was closed down he saw midfield man Andy Procter arriving at the edge of the box and rolled a pass back for Procter to side-foot home unerringly.

Eddie Hussin was booked for a wild tackle on Mike Marsh, happily back in the fold.

Rick Bainbridge missed a great chance to reduce the arrears with a header and he forced Jamie Speare to save a close-range shot, Will Dolan his supplier on both occasions.

But after a slick move on 34 minutes Dean Calcutt, slipped in by the unselfish Mullin, was unceremoniously bundled over in the Marine box by James Connolly, Lutel James sending Chris Coneally the wrong way with a characteristically cool penalty.

Stanley's fourth in the dying seconds of the first half was uncharacteristically route one stuff in a fine footballing display in which fit-again schemer Marsh was outstanding.

Mullin headed on Speare's huge kick and James didn't have to break stride before rifling past Connealy from 18 yards.

To their credit Marine kept going in a less incident-packed second period but Speare kept them at bay while Accrington had plenty of chances to increase their advantage.

Marsh played Mullin through and when he was just beaten to the ball by the advancing keeper, Dean Calcutt shot wide of the unguarded net.

Procter and Marsh, still seeking his first competitive goal for Reds, had decent efforts from well out.

Speare saved a fierce close-range volley from Will Dolan at the other end and made a double stop to deny Thompson and sub Tom Taylor.

Stanley had a chance to increase the margin when a back-pass to the keeper gave them a free-kick not far out but Marsh and James each had piledrivers blocked.

They had to wait right till the end to add a final flourish but Procter's second and Stanley's fifth in the last minute of normal time was the pick of the lot.

Substitute Russell Payne weaved in from the left and found James, who teed Andy Procter up for a thunderous right-foot finish from the corner of the box.