AFTER Accrington Stanley suffered their first defeat in 21 outings in midweek, manager John Coleman insisted that he had every faith in himself to motivate his players.

Saturday's emphatic comeback was proof, if anyone needed it, of that.

As the Reds skulked into the changing room 2-1 down at half-time, it might have proved a difficult task to get them fired up for a crucial second half.

News that Hereford had a one-man disadvantage in a stalemate against Kidderminster following Andy Ferrell's 37th minute dismissal was a timely fillip as Coleman prepared his pep-talk.

But the players themselves know the enormity of the feat they look set to achieve. They are all too aware of the talent and dedication that has got them into such an enviable position at the top of the Nationwide Conferene. And they demonstrated to brilliant effect in the second half how determined they are not to let their efforts of the season so far go to waste.

After twice coming back from a goal down, they shifted through the gears to record one of their most valuable wins of the season.

Ten-man Bulls eventually succumbing to Kidderminster was just an added bonus after Paul Mullin, David Brown and Ian Craney conjured a magnificent fightback.

And Rob Elliot's injury time penalty save to deny Andy Bishop a second was the icing on a cake that, when sliced, will taste ever so sweet.

At a little after 3.45pm at the Kit Kat Crescent on Saturday, though, few would have expected Stanley to have stretched their lead to 14 points by full-time after York made the early running with chances for Emmanuel Panther and Andy Bishop.

Stanley finally got into their stride in attack and Gary Roberts worked a good opening to put a ball in for Brown that James Dudgeon cleared six yards out.

But the Minstermen maintained the edge, and although Nathan Peat shot well wide after Peter Cavanagh conceded a free kick for handball on the right flank, they were growing in attacking confidence.

A second free kick for handball, this time by Michael Welch in a slightly wider position, was worked differently to the last, and to much greater effect as Dunning played it short to Mark Convery before having his left foot curler tipped over the angle by Elliot.

Convery turned provider as his subsequent corner was flicked back by Mullin, rising at the near post and Donaldson was on hand to knock into the roof of the net.

Roberts was prominent as Stanley endeavoured to hit back but bobbled a shot wide from just outside the box before dragging a firm, low effort across the face of goal.

At the other end, Andy Bishop was denied a second by Elliot's legs. But within moments, Stanley were back on level terms as Roberts crossed from deep on the left, Brown flicked on and Mullin knocked it past Chris Porter.

But their hard work in battling back was undone by a split second lapse in concentration at the back. Stanley's attempted offside trap failed and Clayton Donaldson got to the byline to pull the ball back for Andy Bishop. It should have prompted a straightforward challenge from Welch, but the central defender was caught off guard and Bishop rammed home his 21st goal of the season. Welch punched the turf twice in sheer despair.

Roberts almost equalised two minutes before the break but had a brilliant dipping effort tipped over the bar.

But Coleman passed the test of motivation with flying colours as his troops equalised four minutes after the restart.

Roberts' cross struck the hand of Jamie Price inside the penalty area and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Brown kept a cool head before burying the ball down the middle of the goal.

York had a quick burst of chances in response, with usual suspects Donaldson and Andy Bishop going close before livewire Stanley striker Andy Mangan replaced Brown. And the Stanley substitute was unlucky not to round the keeper within minutes of his introduction as the leaders looked better in the final third.

Their flair was rewarded as Roberts delivered a wicked corner to the near post, which Mullin met with a powerful header.

Stanley's leading scorer then turned provider as he controlled Danny Ventre's throw in before setting up Craney to control and nestle the ball in the bottom left hand corner.

Former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Darren Dunning found himself unmarked and unchallenged as the Minstermen broke but couldn't steer his left foot shot on target.

A late surge ensured, and Phil Edwards conceded a penalty after tripping Donaldson as he burst into the box.

Elliot maintained his impressive form when faced with spot kicks as he expertly read Andy Bishop's intentions, dived to his left and parried the ball for Cavanagh to clear.