Stanley captain Seamus Conneely believes it’s been a season of mixed emotions, but one which ended on a high.

The Reds picked up seven points from their final three games to finish five clear of the relegation zone and good enough for 14th spot.

Four points from away games at promotion-chasing duo Doncaster and Portsmouth, as well as a comprehensive 5-1 win over Plymouth meant Stanley secured safety themselves.

A promising start to the campaign, after their League Two title-winning season last term, saw the Reds challenging around the play-off spots.

But a tough winter saw them slide down the table and left them in trouble of losing their League One status.

However, midfielder Conneely says the players, and fans, would likely have taken the position they finished in had they been offered it back in August.

He said: “It has proved to be a season of mixed emotions.

“After losing to Gillingham on the first day, we went on a terrific unbeaten run and found ourselves well placed in the top six at the end of October.

“We were a team full of the belief and expectation that comes from being promoted.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to maintain that form and struggled to put two good performances together for much of the winter.

“Following that AFC Wimbledon game, we won three of our last six games which proved to be decisive in us securing our League One status for another year.

“If someone had offered me 14th place at the beginning of the season I’d have taken it.”

Stanley have already sold in excess of 1,000 season tickets and have received great support at both the Wham Stadium and on the road. And Conneely praised their contribution in seeing them over the line.

“I’d like to finish with a special mention for our fans who have followed us up and down the country this year and made themselves heard at every ground,” he told the club website.

“On behalf of all of the lads I say thank you and put on record how much we appreciate your support.

“We look forward to many more happy days next season.”

Key to Stanley’s success this season has been the 15 goals of vice-captain, Sean McConville.

And the 30-year-old feels a good start to the season gave the squad the belief they needed to compete in the third tier.

“I feel like we carried on much of the momentum that we built up last season when we won the League Two title,” he said.

“There was obviously a real confidence in the side and that showed in those first few months.”

The only ever present in the Stanley side this season was central defender Mark Hughes.

He featured in all 46 League One fixtures and played a key part in the survival.

Hughes felt Stanley have had to adapt to life at this level but going back to basics in the final weeks helped in their turnaround.

He added: “Teams suss you out quicker the higher the level you play at,” said centre back Mark Hughes.

“We have our own style of play which is easy on the eye, and has received plaudits from opposition fans, but that doesn’t always guarantee you results.

“We needed to adapt.

“We just went back to basics – we defended well, won second balls and got up the pitch.

“These things will never change in football.”