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John Coleman praises Accrington’s character after beating 10-man Shrewsbury

Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Accrington boss John Coleman praised the character of his battling side as they beat 10-man Shrewsbury 1-0 in Sky Bet League One.

Midfielder Tommy Leigh’s 77th-minute header proved the difference between the two sides as Stanley made their one-man advantage pay.

Tom Flanagan was sent off in the 57th minute for a second yellow card which ultimately cost the home side dear.

Moments earlier the defender had been cautioned by referee Andy Haines for a silly foul – and he then let his emotions get the better of him.

Mitch Clark then provided the cross for Leigh to win it for the visitors as they claimed their first win of the new season.

“It was a battling performance, it’s a great win,” said Coleman. “I thought we started really well, but then lost our way and got a bit sloppy.

“We invited them into the game. Our passing wasn’t good and that’s something which I was critical of last week. We need to iron that out.

“But the sending off was crucial. I’m not sure what happened to be honest, I’ve turned around to speak to our bench.

“Their guy ended up getting two yellows and ultimately a red, which gave us the upper hand.

“We scored a magnificent goal. That’s why Tommy’s called the ‘Blonde Bomber’. If he scores goals like that again the kid is certainly going to go places.

“Both sides huffed and puffed in the second half, but it’s taken that one moment of quality to decide it. That’s a good win for us, sometimes it’s the smallest margins.”

Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill was left disillusioned with Flanagan’s sending off.

“There were missed chances from us,” said Cotterill. “But the sending off has cost us the game – on top of the missed chances we’ve had and when we were on top in the game.

“And I still don’t quite get the sending off, I don’t know how he [the referee] can come up with two yellow cards.

“Tom Flanagan definitely deserved a booking for turning their lad around, for sure, but I don’t see anything else.

“I don’t know how the referee can come up with two yellow cards in that short space of time.

“But you can’t afford to go down to 10 men in the 57th minute. We found it very difficult then to go and win the game.

“We were not good enough, that’s the bottom line of it. We’ve got to hit the target when we create those opportunities and be more ruthless.”