LEAM Richardson was full of praise for his players after Accrington Stanley maintained their unbeaten record against League Two’s top sides with a point against Gillingham.

Stanley came from behind to draw 1-1 at home to the league leaders on Saturday, with James Beattie netting the equaliser from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Stuart Nelson had been sent off for fouling Reds substitute Padraig Amond.

The result kept Stanley 14th in the table ahead of tomorrow’s game in hand at home to Rotherham.

The Reds have now won four and drawn two of their matches against the league’s current top six and Richardson hopes that gives his players belief that they can enjoy more success this season.

“It must give you confidence,” he said.

“We’ve played Port Vale, Southend, Cheltenham, Fleetwood, Gillingham, we’ve played a few of them now and to not only compete but to get positive results is fantastic for the lads and their belief.

“We worked hard on what Gillingham do well so it was disappointing to concede the goal like we did.

“But it was important that the message got through at half time that we came out very positive, which is exactly what the lads did.

“Gillingham were putting defenders on to see the game out, which is credit to our lads. The pressure we put them under was fantastic.

“It’s a good result in the end.”

Richardson has extended the loan of centre back Rob Atkinson for a third month, with the Fleetwood man’s previous deal expiring after Saturday’s game.

The Reds boss admitted it was a difficult decision to leave out fellow defender Peter Murphy on Saturday and paid tribute to the response of top scorer Amond, who was on the bench for a second game in succession but won Stanley’s penalty little more than 30 seconds after coming on.

“Podge takes the credit, that was just me putting him on because he needs to play,” Richardson said of Amond.

“He’s been unlucky not to play the last couple of games but the lad’s got a great attitude and he scores goals.

“No doubt if the keeper hadn’t pole-axed him he would have gone on and scored. He was positive when he came off the bench and had a great effect on the game.

“Peter (Murphy) doesn’t deserve to not play either, he’s played a lot of games and I thought it would do the lad well to rest. That is the only reason Peter didn’t play.

“He’s been absolutely outstanding throughout the season, as have other lads who aren’t playing and who aren’t even getting a shirt at the minute.

“I do feel for them and if they stick with me and stick with us all the better, because the lads need pushing and we need all the help we can get.”