ACCRINGTON Stanley lost their opening Checkatrade Trophy game against fellow League Two side Crewe 3-0 with just 585 watching the controversial cup game.

The one-time Johnstone’s Paint Trophy now has group stages with Wolves Under 23s joining Chesterfield in Stanley and Crewe’s group with the top two going through to the knock-out stages.

Stanley voted against Premier League Under 23 teams being invited into the competition, with organisers then including Championship Under 23s when Premier League sides turned down the opportunity - but were over-ruled.

John Coleman made the six changes he was allowed in the competition from Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Morecambe giving a debut to 17-year-old Ross Sykes.

Burnley-born Sykes was formerly of the Clarets Academy and came to Stanley when he was 12, coming through the youth set-up and has signed a two-year professional deal with the Reds.

Defender Rory McKeown, a Northern Ireland Under 21 international who was last at Raith Rovers, was also thrown straight into the thick of the action after signing on non-contract terms yesterday.

Bastien Hery, Paddy Lacey and Callam Jones also made their full Stanley debuts as Coleman made the highest number of changes he could to have a look at his fringe players but they couldn’t carve out a victory.

Crewe, managed by former Burnley player Steve Davis, have had an indifferent start to life in League Two following relegation last season, sitting in mid-table, and they also made the maximum six changes.

It was more like a training game with every shout on the pitch heard with both sides restricted to long range efforts in the opening stages.

The first shot on target for either side didn’t come until the half hour when Hery’s strike was comfortable for Ben Garratt while Sykes headed over on 41 minutes.

Charlie Kirk had the ball in the back of the net for Crewe on the stroke of half-time but it was ruled off-side before, two minutes after the re-start, they scored the opener when Kirk’s cross was half volleyed home by Callum Ainley, cheered by the 110 visiting fans.

Stanley tried to get back in it with Sean McConville’s free kick straight at Garratt and Coleman put on both Nathan Webb and Luke Wall for their Stanley debuts.

Young striker Webb, 18, got a chance almost immediately but his header was comfortable for Garratt.

Goalkeeper Elliot Parish denied Callum Saunders but Crewe’s second came on 76 minutes when George Cooper went one-on-one with Parish and slotted home. Blackburn loanee John O’Sullivan had Stanley’s best chance with Garratt pulling off a stunning save on 82 minutes.

Sub Daniel Udoh fired home the third in injury time as Crewe secured the £10,000 for their group game win while Coleman will consider whether any of his squad players have staked a claim for Saturday’s trip to unbeaten Carlisle in League Two.