JOHN Coleman was delighted with the grit his young defence showed as they earned a clean sheet in the goalless draw at Bolton Wanderers.

Mark Hughes was absent, and will miss the remainder of the season with a torn calf, meaning Harvey Rodgers stepped into the defence alongside Ross Sykes.

Stanley came into this match on the back of conceding eight goals in three matches, so the clean sheet was welcomed with open arms for the Reds.

"It was harsh words at half-time and the second half, I thought we were excellent," said Coleman. "We were first to most balls, we passed it well.

"Our keeper hasn't really had to make a save in the second half and their keeper has made two worldies.

"We've had the scramble on the line, and I was disappointed we haven't forced that over. We asked the question in the second half.

"You can say the introduction of Dion Charles gave us a lift, but Bobby Grant had been instrumental in a couple of chances before we put Dion on. I wouldn't say that.

"We just needed to up the tempo all over the pitch and we did. We had Ross Sykes struggling from the first five minutes with a dead leg, we could hardly run.

"Harvey Rodgers hasn't played for ages. Joe Maguire hasn't played a lot of football so there's excuses, but we don't want to use them for our defence.

"They stuck to the task really well and we've defended really well in the second half. Harvey got better as the game went on – he got stronger, he made important tackles.

"You could see he was blowing, and he was tired, but that's testament to the lad's character. They dug in.

"We conceded eight goals from three games and that was a worry. I would've liked to have won this game, but I'm certainly not going to say we should be winning this because Bolton are a good side and they showed that in the first half.

"No one's done what they did to us in the first half all season. It bodes well for the future for time."