Accrington Stanley secured promotion to Sky Bet League One with a 2-0 win over Yeovil on a famous night at the Wham Stadium.
It was exactly 130 years to the day since Stanley became founder members of the Football League and the 2017/18 squad ensured that this date will be forever remembered as the day that the club secured a historic promotion to England’s third tier.
In the week that he was named Sky Bet League Two Player of the Season, Billy Kee crowned his achievement with two goals in three first half minutes to set the Reds on their way and start the party in East Lancashire.
Stanley continued to create chances in the second period, but couldn’t find a third goal. However, the result never looked in doubt as John Coleman’s side extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches, and the Reds boss sealed his fourth promotion with the club in style.
There was another big atmosphere inside the Wham Stadium, but Yeovil had the first sighting of goal. Rhys Browne slipped a ball through for Jordan Green who scuffed his shot wide from a dangerous position on the edge of the area.
Shortly after Browne went himself and, following a clever ball by Otis Khan, stung the palms of Aaron Chapman from close range – as the visitors enjoyed the better of the opening 15 minutes.
Stanley’s first attack of note came in the 23rd minute, following industrious play by Kayden Jackson, Kee found Jimmy Dunne in space inside the area, but the centre back could only drag his shot wide of the post.
Three minutes later and the Reds went ahead, Kee racing to the front post to meet Sean McConville’s corner and crash his header off the underside of the bar – to settle any nerves around the Wham Stadium.
The Reds, and Kee, were rampant. Jordan Clark fired a low shot at Jon Maddison in the Yeovil goal, he could only push it out straight into the path of League Two’s Player of the Year, who tapped home his 25th goal of the season – to make it 2-0 before the half hour mark.
Stanley started the second half with confidence and Kee was a lick of a paint away from his hat-trick in the 53rd minute, bending a shot just around the post from 25-yards.
The Reds electric wingers combined on the hour mark, as Clark found McConville, who advanced into the box and fired a shot at Maddison who saved, before Mark Hughes’ dipping volley from the resulting corner looked like finding the back of the net spectacularly, but didn’t quite dip enough.
Stanley were playing some champagne football as the clock ticked down towards confirmation of their achievement – McConville rattled the bar with an audacious chip, Dunne turned the follow-up into the back of the net but was ruled offside.
Within seconds the home side were back on the attack. Jackson forced a superb save from Maddison after racing through one-on-one, before Kee was again denied his hat trick with a header from close range which the Yeovil keeper tipped over.