A STUNNING goal from the halfway line from Sean McConville wasn’t enough to prevent Accrington Stanley exiting the Checkatrade Trophy at the hands of Lincoln City.

The Reds led twice at Sincil Bank but were twice pegged back and ultimately lost the tie 3-2.

A strong looking Stanley side scored the opener with the first attack having withstood some early forays from the home team.

Jordan Clark started the move down the right, playing the ball inside to Billy Kee and he backheeled the ball to Mallik Wilks with the Leeds United loanee drilling a fierce low left foot shot into the net.

The best chance for the Red Imps to level immediately came from midfielder Elliott Whitehouse who headed over unmarked from a corner.

At the other end a deflected Kee effort from a McConville corner was close to extending John Coleman’s team’s advantage.

Lincoln found the equaliser eight minutes before half time when Matt Green squared Josh Ginnelly’s left wing centre across the face for strike partner Ollie Palmer to stroke home from six yards.

But Stanley were soon in front in utterly spectacular style thanks to McConville. The Reds captain saw home goalkeeper Paul Farman off his line when inside the centre circle and hit the target with aplomb, seeing the ball clatter down off the bar and in despite the efforts of the frantically retreating Farman.

But another home leveller arrived shortly after in starkly contrasting style. Centre back Sean Raggett kept alive a hopeful ball into the box and a melee at the far post saw the ball ricochet off the bar and in with Reds defender Janoi Donacien unable to clear off the line and Green credited with the telling touch.

Both sides had chances to seize the advantage after the break with Raggett seeing a header deflected wide and Stanley’s Clark shooting tamely at Farman.

It was the home side who did take an opportunity though with their directness and physicality bearing fruit from a set piece. Full back Sam Habergham swung in a corner from the left and Raggett met the ball with a firm near post header to make it 3-2.

But for Mark Hughes the deficit could have been worse, with the Stanley defender forced to race back and clear off the line after Green had beaten Max Stryjek to a long ball and lofted it over the keeper.

From there on in the visitors pressed to level things up and were agonisingly close to doing so late on when McConville clattered the bar from inside the box and sub Kayden Jackson pushed the rebound goalwards only to see Farman claw the ball off the line.

And there was still time for Farman to confirm his hero status as he raced off the line to block a Jackson effort as the Red Imps booked their spot in the next round.

Stanley: Stryjek, Donacien, Hughes, Richards-Everton, Thorniley (Farrend Rawson 65), Clark (Jackson 65), Nolan, Brown, McConville, Kee, Wilks (Sykes 85). Not used: Ogle, Mohammed, Johnson, Watson