Burchill 6, 11; Broughton 88
STANLEY became television stars this season but assistant Jimmy Bell says the club should feature in another tv drama - "Casualty."
The Reds had their spell in the spotlight in the Granada documentary on the club which showed behind the scenes at the FES.
But Bell says they should now be starring in the hospital saga with physios Joe Hinnighan and Ronnie Evans working around the clock to make sure the Reds could actually field a team on Saturday.
Bell admitted keeper Ian Dunbavin, left back Chris King, defender Colin Murdock and striker Paul Mullin all played without being 100 per cent fit but the management had little choice but to put them out and hope they could do the business.
"We have been stretched. It was like a scene from ‘Casualty’ all week trying to get the players out there," said Bell, with Leam Richardson also hampered with injury on the bench.
"It looked like we were going to have 10 unavailable to face Rotherham but the lads have done really well to even get through the game.
"The squad is really stretched and this transfer window certainly doesn’t help clubs like Accrington.
"I am a firm believer that if your bench is strong then you have got a really strong team.
"In the last two games, against Lincoln and Rotherham, we are looking around and, no disrespect to the lads on the bench, they are inexperienced and playing against a well-marshalled and physical team like Rotherham means it can be a hindrance for them to come on.
"Sometimes you want to wrap the players up in cotton wool and you have to try and get them through training and games.
"It is a case of getting the fittest and best team out there and it has been hard."
And it was made even harder with opinion divided on the main talking point of Saturday’s clash with the Millers - the sixth minute penalty which started the Reds downfall and led to their third successive defeat.
Even after countless viewings, it is hard to see why referee Andy Penn so firmly pointed to the spot.
At the time, most people were utterly bemused when the West Midlands official signalled that, from a corner, Phil Edwards had pushed Mark Burchill in a seemingly harmless melee.
Replays don’t make the ‘push’ clear but the ref made the instant decision against the Reds and infuriated Stanley manager John Coleman who showed his feelings to the referee’s assessor in the stands after the defeat.
Bell agreed that it was "dubious" but Rotherham boss Mark Robins, was adamant that Mr Penn got it spot on: "I thought it was a penalty. It was a push and there was no doubt in my mind."
And ‘victim’ Burchill gave his thoughts: "Their guy definitely pushed me for the penalty."
Whatever the opinions, though, it stood although in fairness, the early goal had been coming with the relegation-haunted Millers quick off the blocks.
Micky Cummins had already had a free header which Dunbavin - in for the injured Kenny Arthur and battling a groin injury himself - did well to push away.
Then, from the resulting corner, Mr Penn angered the Reds bench.
"From what I saw and what most people in the ground saw, if you give a penalty for that I think you will be watching about 10 or 15 penalties every game," said Bell. "Phil Edwards had gone up for a header and used his arms as leverage and headed the ball.
"The referee has blown and all the Rotherham players were actually running back thinking he had given a foul for us.
"It was a massive shock when he gave the penalty. I couldn't believe it."
Burchill, on a rare start for the Millers, dusted himself down and sent Dunbavin the wrong way.
And the Reds were still shell shocked as number two hit the back of the net on 11 minutes. From a flowing move, Dale Tonge got the better of King on the wing and played in a first time cross which Burchill ran onto to tap home.
Rotherham, in 3-5-2 formation were charging forward in numbers and looked certain to add to their tally in the opening stages.
The reason they didn’t was that Dunbavin stopped another Burchill goalbound effort and the striker also chipped a ball over the bar.
Bell admitted it was frustrating: "I don’t think we started playing until we were 2-0 down. It was a very dubious penalty but it was an absolutely smashing second goal by them.
"We then sprung into life and played really well after that. We were a bit naive early on and let them ask the questions of us. When we got a goal back they were all hands to the pump trying to stop us and we were the ones asking questions."
The Reds, to their credit, never do stop battling and Murdock forced David Stockdale to finger tip his shot over while Jamie Clarke made a few runs but just couldn’t find the finish.
Then, though, John Miles and King linked up on the left and King’s deep cross to the far post was rifled into the roof of the net by Andy Procter for his first goal of the campaign.
That gave Stanley hope and a comeback seemed on the cards as the visitors were then on the back foot. Stanley passed the ball around well with Jimmy Ryan making runs on the wing and John Mullin pressing forward when he could but they could just not find the final ball. Procter blasted over and Paul Mullin’s header was off target in a lively end to the first half.
The next goal was always going to be important and Miles came the closest for the Reds on the hour.
He twisted and turned on the edge of the area and his low shot almost caught out Stockdale but the keeper managed to tip it out.
Half efforts followed but time was running out and the Reds were getting stretched as they pushed forward and the Millers exploited it.
Defender Nick Fenton should have made the game safe for Rotherham eight minutes from time but Dunbavin pulled off an instinctive goalline stop to keep the ball out of the net.
But he could do nothing about the third two minutes from time when Jamie Green’s cross was met by Drewe Broughton - one of those players who seems to regularly score against Stanley - and he had an easy job to tap the ball home.
"I am bittery disappointed," said Bell. "We forced them to change their system three or four times and they looked nervous but they were already 2-0 up at that stage.
"It was hard out there for all the players. It was a big risk putting Bavs (Ian Dunbavin) in as he is struggling with his kicking but we have had to play people who are not 100 per cent fit.
"But we won’t use it as an excuse as we have got to get on with it."