Lewis Mansell needed just four minutes to score on his Stanley debut – but John Coleman was equally delighted with the contribution of strike partner Ryan Cassidy.

Mansell scored the only goal of the game, just days after signing for the club, in what was his first match action since February after leaving Partick Thistle.

The 23-year-old turned home a Cassidy cross at the near post, with the front two linking up to good effect in the first half until Mansell was withdrawn at the break.

Stanley, playing just their second game since a three-week Covid-related lay-off, progressed into the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy, with Coleman pleased to get minutes into the legs of 14 players.

“Lewis worked hard, he hasn’t played for a long time, I don’t think he has since February, so we were never expecting him to play the full game,” he said.

“It’s very difficult to get your second wind, but the flashes he showed, he’s got promise.

“There’s lots of lads who are keen to get a shirt and Lewis is one of them.”

Watford loanee Cassidy scored twice earlier in the competition, in the 7-0 win over Leeds Under-21s, and with no Colby Bishop in the matchday 18, Coleman was pleased with the teenager’s workrate.

He has now been called up by Republic of Ireland Under-21s for their games with Iceland and Luxembourg and will miss Stanley’s next two fixtures against Northampton Town and Swindon Town.

“I was pleased for Lewis, but also pleased for Ryan because he hasn’t played a lot of football,” he added.

“He was instrumental in the goal and I thought his hold-up and link-up play was very, very good.

“He was very intelligent, strong, and he got us up the pitch.”

The only goal of what was a competitive match, in which six players were booked, proved to be the difference, but Stanley were indebted to some saves from Nathan Baxter, the Chelsea loanee making just his second start.

That included an early penalty save to deny Scott Quigley, the Reds ‘keeper also denying the striker with a good stop just before half-time.

Reserving praise for his goalkeeper, Coleman added: “Nathan made the penalty save and I thought he looked accomplished.

“I’m pleased for him, a great save, and he looked assured which is what you want.”

There were fewer chances in the second half, that owing much to the improvement in Stanley’s defensive work, according to Coleman, who went with a back three.

But the Reds boss feels there is still work to do after their lay-off.

“We could have played better. I said to them before the game they had to find a way to win, and in that sense, we did,” he explained.

“We would just like to have done it a bit better and made it a bit more comfortable.  We’re still finding our feet after the absence, a three week lay-off, not a lot of training has gone into them, and you can see it in their legs, they’re just a little bit sluggish.

“We’re working on it. We’ll train every day this week and ry and get ourselves right for Saturday.

“The more minutes we’re getting into the players’ legs the better it should be going forward but I was pleased with the way we defended in the second half, better than the first half, I would have just liked us to have retained the ball a little bit better.”

Coleman meanwhile, has been nominated for the League One manager of the month award for November. He is shortlisted alongside Lee Bowyer (Charlton), Darren Ferguson (Peterborough) and Kenny Jackett (Portsmouth).