It was late heartbreak for Accrington Stanley as Bobby Grant scored a brace against his old side to give Shrewsbury Town a 2-1 win.

Grant had opened the scoring with a deflected free-kick after 10 minutes before Josh Windass equalised with a penalty after Michael Liddle was fouled.

But the former Stanley winger scored an 88th-minute winner with a free header to pilfer the points for Micky Mellon’s team.

John Coleman kept faith with the 3-5-2 formation he had employed in the last two matches, but made two alterations to his starting XI as Liddle and Matt Crooks replaced Seamus Conneely and Kal Naismith.

The promotion contenders wasted an opportunity within the opening 30 seconds as Crooks miscontrolled a long ball forward, allowing James Collins to sneak in around the back, but the striker scuffed his shot and Rob Atkinson eventually hacked clear.

At the other end, Windass saw a shot deflected wide, with Liddle flashing a venomous drive across the face of goal from the corner.

Jordan Clark looked to lead a Shrewsbury counter-attack but was taken down by Anthony Barry, who was booked for the challenge.

The visitors made the set-piece count and took the lead as Grant’s free-kick took a wicked deflection off the wall and looped up into the night sky before dropping into the bottom corner with goalkeeper Scott Davies helplessly wrong-footed.

Terry Gornell almost found a way through the visiting defence to equalise immediately, but Connor Goldson’s excellent sliding tackle denied the former Shrewsbury striker a shot on goal.

The Shrews went close to doubling their advantage at a wet Store First Stadium – as the rain began to pour down, Collins volleyed wide from the edge of the penalty area.

Barry was walking a tightrope and received a final warning from referee Geoff Eltringham for fouling Ryan Woods, who was breaking towards goal. Goldson curled the free-kick over the crossbar.

Stanley were given a clear-cut chance to level the scores when Liddle was fouled in the penalty area as he challenged for a header. Windass took responsibility for the penalty and promptly sent Jayson Leutwiler the wrong way to equalise for his second goal in as many home games.

The Reds were in the ascendancy after getting back on level terms and almost took the lead following a quick counter-attack.

Davies claimed a cross and bowled the ball out to Piero Mingoia, who raced half the length of the field before forcing Leutwiler into a sprawling save. The rebound fell to Gornell, who blasted a shot into the goalkeeper’s chest and Barry’s strike was cleared from inside the six-yard box by Mark Ellis.

Stanley captain Luke Joyce flicked a Windass corner wide at the near post as the teams went into the break level.

A heavy downpour during half-time made the pitch heavier and more difficult to play on, but the second half began with the sides trading chances – Clark’s shot from 25 yards was blocked by Atkinson and Windass smashed a 40-yard free-kick against the roof of the Clayton End, then had a shot from 20 yards blocked by a defender.

Tyrone Barnett cut inside from the left wing and bent a shot towards goal but it went a couple of yards wide of the far post. It was the striker’s last action of the match – he was replaced by Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro just before the hour.

There was a worrying moment for the Reds when Davies spilled Grant’s cross but Atkinson was on hand to clear before a Shrewsbury attacker could pounce on the loose ball.

As the game headed into the final quarter of an hour, John Coleman made a pair of attacking substitutions as wingers Shay McCartan and Kal Naismith came on for the more defensive-minded Liddle and Barry.

The visitors were pushing for a winner and created a number of chances. Collins lashed wide from Clark’s cross and Grant sent a shot over the bar before giving Davies a routine catch with a 20-yard effort.

With two minutes to go, the Shrews stole all three points. Akpa Akpro’s cross found Grant in the six-yard box and the winger put a free header past Davies into the bottom corner.

There were three minutes of added time for the Reds to mount a comeback, but the Shrews held out to condemn Stanley to their second successive defeat.

Stanley: Davies; Winnard, Atkinson, Crooks; Mingoia, Joyce, Procter, Barry (McCartan 75), Liddle (Naismith 75); Windass; Gornell.
Subs not used: Dawber, Conneely, Maguire, Bruna, Bowerman.

Attendance: 1,137 (302 away)