JOHN Coleman hailed Accrington Stanley’s spirit as they twice came from behind to draw 3-3 with Bristol Rovers in a pulsating encounter at the Memorial Stadium.

Stanley rang the changes from the side that overcame Fleetwood Town in the EFL Trophy in midweek, with Coleman instead reverting to the team that started their last league match, a 2-1 win over MK Dons.

And given they played the majority of the second half with a man deficit after Seamus Conneely’s red card, the manager left the Memorial Stadium glowing.

"You've got to be happy when you're down to 10 men,” he said.

"I thought it was a terrific advert for football, certainly at League One level.

"Both teams never gave a quarter and there was no malice to the game, it was played in a terrific spirit.

"I think both benches can take a bit of credit for that as well, because we're both passionate about our teams but it doesn't spill over into anything else.

"Both players were trying to win the game and there were some terrific goals scored, I've never seen an overhead kick that high!

"Overall a draw is a fair result with two good footballing sides who were trying to play the right way."

Accrington got off to a slow start and fell behind after three minutes when Alex Rodman ghosted in at the back post to open the scoring for the hosts.

They managed to grow into the game and eventually looked the better side when they equalised on 17 minutes as Jordan Clark slid the ball past the home keeper from 18 yards for a well-taken angled finish.

Two minutes later and Stanley were leading as Sam Finley took advantage of a poor pass to beat one defender before running 15 yards and poking the ball in off the post.

The hosts equalised on 40 minutes when Jonson Clarke-Harris burst past a defender and fired underneath Dimitar Evtimov.

Stanley were reduced to 10 men in the 49th minute as Conneely picked up his second yellow.

Things then went from bad to worse in the 62nd minute as Clarke-Harris produced an acrobatic overhead kick to put the hosts back into the lead.

Ten-man Stanley equalised with 13 minutes left as Dion Charles was fouled in the box then picked himself up to score from the spot.

With nine minutes of stoppage time signalled, Stanley were holding on and breathed a sigh of relief when Kyle Bennett's strike hit the crossbar to guarantee them a point.

And Coleman will no-doubt use the comeback to fuel his squad as they look to build on their four points in their last two League One games. 

Bristol Rovers: Van Stappershoef; Hare, Davies, Craig, Kilgour, Leahy; Rodman (Bennett 58), Ogogo, Clarke; Nichols (Smith 68), Clarke-Harris. Subs not used: Andre Jr, Little, Kelly, Adeboyejo, Hargreaves.

Accrington Stanley: Evtimov 5; Johnson 6 (Opoku 58), Sykes 5, Hughes 6, Francis-Angol 4 (Sherif 54); Conneely 5; Clark 8, Finley 8, Pritchard 7; Bishop 6, Charles 7.  Subs not used: Savin, Edwards, Carvalho, Simpson, Diallo.

Referee: Neil Hair

Attendance: 6,524 (130 away)