JOHN Coleman praised an increasingly confident Offrande Zanzala for his role in Accrington Stanley’s Checkatrade Trophy win over Macclesfield Town.

The striker made the first and scored the next two as the Reds triumphed 4-1 at the Wham Stadium in their first Northern Group C outing.

There were question marks over Zanzala’s second, as Macclesfield fullback Dave Fitzpatrick appeared to get the final touch as he challenged the striker for the ball, following Connor Hall’s pinpoint delivery into the box from the left.

But there was no doubt in Coleman’s mind that Zanzala converted the cross, and thought there was a chance he might have even had a hat-trick for his involvement in the first as he felt there was a chance the ball could have crossed the line before Sam Finley headed into the back of the net from close range.

“You can just see the reaction for the third goal, it’s definitely Ozzy’s goal. He’s got across the man and hit it with the outside of his foot right into the roof of the net. It’s a great finish. He’s got two for me, possibly three,” said the Stanley boss.

“Whether the first goal’s his or not, to get where he got from where he was is just phenomenal.

“He’s got that in his locker and the more confidence he gets the better he’ll become.”

Zanzala was one of eight changes from Saturday’s narrow defeat at Shrewsbury, with Coleman keen to give fringe players some game-time. And the Stanley boss admits he could have selection headaches ahead of Saturday’s visit of Bradford City.

“We’ve got good options. I thought Connor Hall led the line brilliantly. He was fantastic and showed great awareness with a great ball for the third goal,” said Coleman.

“There are a lot of players pushing for starts and that will do them the world of good and the ones who they’ve come in for will be looking over their shoulder.

“We made quite a few changes but the flow of the game and the rhythm of the game and how we played didn’t change.

“There was some terrific football played. I’m disappointed that we conceded another headed goal. But give Macclesfield their due, they had a go and they were lively all night and they played some good football themselves and belied their position in the league.

“It was a good win and it was pleasing for Ozzy getting at least two goals, and then Dan Barlaser’s goal at the end. Historically you don’t get big attendances on the Checkatrade but the ones who were privileged to be there because that’s one of the best goals you’ll ever see here for the move that went into it beforehand and the individual, cool finish at the end. It was fantastic.”

And Coleman was pleased his players demonstrated a ruthless streak to hit Macclesfield for four.

“We’ve created quite a few chances in the first half and carried that on into the second half. You’ve just got to keep putting yourself into areas where you can score,” he said.

“The one thing you know when you put Piero on is that the ball’s going to go into our box. He’s a forward’s dream.”

It was a special night, too, for defender Ross Sykes, with the club’s Academy graduate captaining the side for the first time.

“I’m delighted for Ross, it’s a great achievement for him and he’s deserved that,” said Coleman.

“I remember giving the captain’s armband to a young man called Peter Cavanagh and look how that turned out. He had a fantastic spell at Accrington. Ross is only going to get better as he gets older and you could see the class in him on Tuesday night.”