STANLEY suffered just a second defeat in nine matches as the 10-man Reds were beaten 2-0 at Crewe Alexandra.

Former Reds player Omar Beckles scored in the first half, with Chris Porter wrapping things up late on, after Harvey Rodgers was sent off on his return to the side.

It was a tough night for the visitors whose best chance of getting something came with the score at 1-0 when substitute David Morgan was denied by Dave Richards.

Stanley started the brighter, left back Cameron Burgess was getting plenty of early space, his sixth minute pull-back into the path of the advancing Adam Phillips saw the on-loan Burnley midfielder spurn a good opening.

The game became more even as Crewe settled into their changed 4-4-2 shape, their first chance coming from a set play as Nathan Wood headed straight at Nathan Baxter in the 16th minute.

His defensive partner, and former Stanley man Beckles, put the hosts ahead in the 31st minute, converting from 12 yards after Baxter failed to deal with a ball across the area.

Harry Pickering then linked with Charlie Kirk who raced clear of Rodgers and but for the sliding recovery challenge of Callum Butcher, could have doubled the hosts’ lead.

Stanley left the pitch at half-time aggrieved at a perceived elbow on Mark Hughes and emerged for the second half with David Morgan replacing Phillips.

Stanley then went down to 10 men within three minutes of the second half and could have no complaints, as Rodgers brought down Kirk when he raced clear.

What followed was a period of entertaining chaos, when Porter - a former pupil at QEGS in Blackburn - was then denied by Baxter with Tom Lowery’s follow-up crashing against the post.

But Baxter’s long kicks forward were causing confusion in the Crewe backline, Colby Bishop snatching at one shot wide before he was denied by the home keeper.

All this happened inside the opening 15 minutes of the second half, as despite being a goal and a man down, Stanley were giving all they got.

Baxter was having to be busy, denying Mikel Mandron when played in by Harry Pickering, as Stanley’s defensive shape was particularly open. The Chelsea loanee then denied Luke Murphy with 15 minutes to go as Stanley’s early enthusiasm after going down to 10 men started to wane.

And the game was done with 12 minutes to go, Lowery dancing his way down the right before rolling the ball across goal where Porter couldn’t miss at the far post.

The chances were beginning to mount for the hosts as they looked to make the most of the game situation, Porter denied twice more by Baxter as he looked to up his tally.

Stanley are back in action on Saturday when they make the short trip to Fleetwood.