ACCRINGTON Stanley missed out on automatic promotion to League One in heartbreaking fashion as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Stevenage at a sold out Wham Stadium on Saturday.

The Reds began the day in second spot and knew victory would see them promoted to the third tier regardless of results elsewhere.

But a 92nd minute winner for Bristol Rovers in their game with Dagenham & Redbridge saw the Pirates promoted ahead of John Coleman's side on goal difference.

Oxford leapfrogged the Reds into second after they won 3-0 at home to Wycombe.

The result means Coleman must pick his side up for a play-off semi final with AFC Wimbledon next week.

Stanley will travel south for the first leg on Saturday night (7.30pm) before the return leg at the Wham Stadium on Wednesday, May 18 (7.45pm). The final takes place on Monday, May 30, at Wembley at 3pm.

Portsmouth and Plymouth contest the other semi-final.

For the Reds it was a devastating end to a day that began full of expectation.

Stanley had won three on the bounce heading into the season finale to put themselves in pole position for promotion but struggled to break down a resolute Stevenage side who had nothing to play for but pride.

It was a nervy first half of few chances with Billy Kee heading wide for the hosts and Tom Conlan skimming the bar for Stevenage.

Stanley improved after the hour mark with Josh Windass shooting wide and Tariqe Fosu forcing a save out of Jamie Jones.

Sub Shay McCartan then rattled the crossbar 15 minutes from time before Matty Pearson saw a looping header come back off the woodwork as the Reds turned up the pressure.

McCartan was denied by the bar again in the closing stages as Stevenage, who beat Stanley in the Reds only other play-off campaign in the 2011 semi-finals, held out.

Stanley: Etheridge, Pearson, Davies, Hughes, Buxton (Gornell 83), Mingoia, Conneely, Halliday (Brown 59), Fosu (McCartan 73), Windass, Kee. Subs: Winnard, McConville, Boco, Mooney.

Attendance: 4,386