PETER Murphy struck another dramatic late goal as Accrington Stanley continued their fine record against Bristol Rovers.
Stanley had appeared to be hanging on for a 0-0 draw in the south west until Lee Molyneux, making his first appearance for the Reds since returning on loan from Crewe, crossed from the left and fellow substitute Danny Webber teed up Murphy to lash home.
The midfielder has been a specialist at late goals in the past two seasons and his goal gave the Reds another victory over Bristol Rovers, having ended their 12-match winless run at the start of this League Two campaign with a home triumph over the Pirates.
Stanley had also secured Football League safety with a win at the Memorial Ground last term.
The game only went ahead after two pitch inspections on the day of the game, with the rain holding off, and Stanley recorded their first clean sheet in nine games to move six points clear of the relegation zone.
The home side had the first chance of the game when target man Matt Harrold directed a header marginally over the bar.
Stanley had named Molyneux on the bench, with boss James Beattie opting to stick with the team that won 2-1 at Cheltenham in Stanley’s last match, having seen Saturday’s home game against Bury rained off.
Piero Mingoia saw a low shot saved by Bristol Rovers keeper Steve Mildenhall but the home side were having the better of the opening stages and Marcus Bettinelli had to save Kaid Mohamed’s fierce effort, before the winger dragged an effort wide.
Peter Murphy had gone close with a header at the other end, although a swerving effort from Eliot Richards went only a whisker over the bar for the hosts.
Only 34 Stanley fans travelled for this fixture rather cruelly scheduled for a Tuesday night but they almost saw their side go in front at the start of the second half, only for George Bowerman’s header to get stuck in the goalmouth mud.
The Reds were defending resiliently but a rare lapse allowed Mohamed in, and the wide man directed his angled effort against the base of the near post.
Richards then dashed past Laurence Wilson but lashed his effort over the bar, before substitute Ellis Harrison dragged a shot across the face of goal.
Stanley brought Molyneux on for the final 10 minutes but Bristol Rovers pushed forward and Mohamed twice shot just off target in the closing stages.
That, however, was until Murphy popped up for his dramatic late winner.
Stanley: Marcus Bettinelli; Nicky Hunt, Dean Winnard, Tom Aldred, Laurence Wilson; Kal Naismith (Lee Molyneux 79), Luke Joyce, Peter Murphy, Piero Mingoia; George Bowerman (Danny Webber 81), Kayode Odejayi. Subs not used: Rob Atkinson, Michael Liddle, Will Hatfield, Josh Windass, James Gray.
Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall; Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown; Tom Lockyer, John-Joe O’Toole, Ollie Clarke; Eliot Richards (Ellis Harrison 76), Matt Harrold (Chris Beardsley 76), Kaid Mohamed. Subs not used: Conor Gough, Mitch Harding, Oliver Norburn, David Clarkson, Pat Keary.
Referee: David Phillips.