Accrington Stanley surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 against Scunthorpe United on Fans’ Friday.
Goals from Lee Molyneux and Peter Murphy had put Stanley into a commanding position at half-time but they were pegged back by Sam Winnall and Hakeeb Adelakun before David Mirfin won the game in injury time for the visitors.
James Beattie made one change from the team which drew at Wycombe last Saturday with Molyneux making the first start of his loan spell at the expense of the injured Kal Naismith.
Both sides enjoyed spells of pressure early on without creating a clear-cut chance and it was the visitors who had the first effort on target with Niall Canavan’s header looping safely into the hands of Marcus Bettinelli.
The Reds’ first chance came when Christian Ribiero tripped Molyneux after the loanee had linked well with Odejayi but Piero Mingoia’s free-kick was overhit and went wide of the mark.
Stanley fans were clearly happy to see Molyneux back in a red shirt, with a murmur of excitement rippling around the stadium each time he picked up possession, and the winger doubled their delight by opening the scoring.
George Bowerman powered past Eddie Nolan on the right hand side and put the ball across for the sliding Molyneux to sweep it beyond Sam Slocombe.
Clearly buoyed by his goal, the 24 year-old tried his luck again from 18 yards after working a shooting position but Ribiero got a crucial block to the shot.
Stanley were playing with confidence and doubled their lead less than 10 minutes before the break to take a stranglehold on proceedings.
Peter Murphy, who celebratred his 24th birthday yesterday, burst forward with a trademark run from midfield, collected the ball on the edge of the area and curled a shot past Slocombe with the benefit of a slight deflection for his 9th goal of the campaign.
The Iron tried to respond immediately but David Syers’ powerful effort from a tight angle could only find the side-netting.
Scunthorpe almost added to their own misery as David Mirfin deflected Laurence Wilson’s cross into his own net but, fortunately for the centre back, it spiraled over the bar as Beattie’s men took a two-goal advantage into the break.
Russ Wilcox made a double substitution at half-time to try and change the game with Ribiero and Terry Hawkridge replaced by Hakeeb Adelakun and Gary McSheffrey.
The changes seemed to spark a reaction within the Iron ranks and they pulled a goal back five minutes into the second half.
Paddy Madden burst forward from the half-way line and Sean McAllister got a touch on the pass to divert it into the path of the division’s top-scorer, Sam Winnall, who fired through the legs of Bettinelli to halve the deficit.
Molyneux tried to restore Stanley’s two-goal cushion but he could only curl a shot around the post from 20 yards before Mingoia’s cross narrowly evaded the Liverpool-born midfielder.
Scunthorpe were markedly improved and levelled the game with their next attack as the ball fell for the substitute Adelakun to rifle home from the edge of the area.
James Beattie went to his bench within minutes of the visitors equalising, introducing James Gray for Bowerman.
The two goals had the away side in command and they almost went ahead as Winnall forced Bettinelli into a smart stop before swivelling to put an effort just past the post.
They ought to have taken the lead when McSheffrey swung in a cross that found Madden lurking at the back post but the striker could only put his header against the crossbar.
As the clocked ticked into the last five minutes, Murphy, the master of the late goal, tried to repeat his heroics but his shot was palmed behind by Slocombe.
Manager Beattie had his final roll of the dice by putting Danny Webber on for Kayode Odejayi.
It was to have no effect as Stanley got a taste of their own medicine with the Iron striking to win the game in injury-time.
A free-kick was floated into the area and Mirfin got contact on the ball to take it past Bettinelli and steal all three points for the visitors.
Stanley: Bettinelli; Hunt, Aldred, Winnard, Wilson; Mingoia, Joyce, Murphy, Molyneux (Hatfield 71); Odejayi (Webber 86), Bowerman (Gray 62).
Subs: Liddle, McCartan, Windass, Atkinson.