Accrington Stanley suffered late heartbreak away at Rochdale as Matt Lund’s brace completed a comeback for the hosts at Spotland.
Piero Mingoia’s stunning volley looked as though it would set the Reds on the way to three points but Lund equalised with a lucky goal before winning the game in injury-time for the promotion-chasers and gave Stanley a taste of their own medicine.
James Beattie made two changes to the side which drew 0-0 with Hartlepool. Peter Murphy returned from suspension to take Josh Windass’ place in central midfield whilst Mingoia was recalled to the starting eleven at the expense of Danny Webber after recovering from a dislocated shoulder.
In a start that was the polar opposite to last weekend against Chesterfield with Matt Done having the first effort on target as his fierce drive from 25 yards brought a fine one-handed save from Marcus Bettinelli.
Stanley were not without their moments going forward and ought to have taken the lead when Laurence Wilson drove forward from left back and sent in an excellent cross which Mingoia just failed to make contact with.
Lee Molyneux was hoping to repeat his heroics from last season at Spotland as he lined up a free-kick from 40 yards out but his effort flew wide of Josh Lillis’ goal.
The returning Murphy almost took his tally for the season into double figures when he got on the end of Adam Buxton’s cross but his snapshot flashed past the post.
The hosts then threatened from a set-piece as Michael Rose’s free-kick from 25 yards went through the wall but Bettinelli palmed it wide of the upright.
Rochdale started the second half looking threatening and Graham Cummins went close, flicking Rose’s cross goalwards but the shot went into the side-netting.
Most of the attacking threat from Keith Hill’s side was coming down their left hand side and Wilson had to clear Done’s cross away with a number of Rochdale players waiting to pounce and open the scoring.
After soaking up the pressure, Stanley looked to hit their opponents on the counter-attack and almost did so as James Gray’s cross was spilt by Lillis but Mingoia’s shot from the rebound was straight at the goalkeeper and he was able to collect at the second attempt.
However, the winger was to make up for that miss as he opened the scoring with his next effort in spectacular style.
The ball came down from a great height and the former Watford man steadied himself before letting rip with a left-footed howitzer that left Lillis with no chance as it flew into the bottom corner.
Shocked by the goal, the visitors cranked up the pressure and thought they had equalised immediately but Ian Henderson’s effort was ruled out for offside.
Rochdale’s frustration wasn’t to last long though as Matt Lund equalised two minutes later. A cross came in from the right hand side and hit the midfielder’s shoulder to beat Bettinelli.
Undeterred by that setback, the Reds looked to retake the lead but Molyneux’s 25 yard effort was just over the bar before Gray shot wide from the edge of the area.
Lund tried to double his tally for the afternoon but he cleared Bettinelli’s crossbar by some distance but there was to be one more chance for the hosts – and they took it.
The midfielder was to complete a brace – and the turnaround – as he followed up Joe Bunney’s header which was superbly kept out by Bettinelli. There was nothing the Fulham loanee could do to stop Lund from winning the game from two yards out.
The lateness of the goal left Stanley with next to no time to summon up an equaliser and the Reds were forced to make the short journey home empty-handed.
Stanley: Bettinelli; Buxton (Odejayi 90), Aldred, Winnard, Wilson; Mingoia (Windass 90), Murphy, Joyce, Molyneux; Hatfield; Gray (Naismith 83).
Subs not used: Hunt, Atkinson, Bowerman, Webber.