BIRTHDAY boy Craig Lindfield led the way as Accrington Stanley knocked holders Carlisle United out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the first hurdle.

The Cumbrian side were reduced to nine men in the second half, but the Reds were in danger of bowing out after substitute Jon-Paul McGovern and winger Francois Zoko overturned the Reds’ first-half lead, which Lindfield had secured with his first goal in 13 months.

Padraig Amond came off the bench to grab an 86th minute equaliser for John Coleman’s men, before captain Andy Procter clinched it with a diving header as their extra men made the difference in stoppage time.

Carlisle made a lively start against an Accrington side which was much changed from Saturday’s goalless draw at Barnet.

They should have taken the lead at the Crown Ground when the ball dropped for Craig Curran after Stanley failed to deal with a corner.

But the Carlisle striker couldn’t get make a clean connection with his shot on the turn inside the six-yard box and Ian Dunbavin gratefully gathered the ball.

They were made to regret Curran’s miss when Lindfield broke the deadlock 11 minutes before the break.

James Berrett tripped the forward on the break around the halfway line.

But the striker, who turns 23 today, dusted himself down and when Luke Joyce’s free kick down the right channel was allowed to bounce, Lindfield picked out the bottom left corner with a shot across Adam Collin for his first goal since August 10, 2010.

Carlisle’s battle got harder as they were reduced to 10 men through Peter Murphy being booked twice in three minutes.

But the visitors came out fighting after the break, equalising through substitute Jon-Paul McGovern.

Francois Zoko gave the visitors the lead, heading in from another McGovern flag kick.

But Coleman brought on the fresh legs of on-loan strikers Wes Fletcher and Padraig Amond with just under 20 minutes to go, and their pressure told after Berrett was the second Carlisle player to be sent for an early bath following his foul on Procter.

Amond levelled matters with four minutes to go - heading in when Procter headed on Luke Joyce’s cross.

Penalties looked on the cards until Procter met a cross with a diving header to clinch it in the first of four minutes of stoppage time to set up a second.

Stanley: Ian Dunbavin 8; Peter Murphy 7, Dean Winnard 6 (Sean Hessey 79, 6), Tom Bender 7, Kevin McIntyre 7, Luke Joyce 7, Andy Procter 7; Craig Lindfield 8, Louis Moult 7, Ian Craney 7 (Wes Fletcher 70, 7); Kurtis Guthrie 6 (Padraig Amond 70, 7).

Attendance: 1,069.

Final instalment of our three-part Paul Mullin story only in today's Lancashire Telegraph newspaper.