Accrington Stanley battled to a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Hartlepool United.

Josh Windass opened the scoring with a superb first-time finish from 18 yards, but Marlon Harewood’s late header pegged the Reds back.

The point means Accrington secured their safety in League Two and guaranteed that their status as a Football League club would stretch into a tenth season.

John Coleman named an unchanged starting XI from Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Cambridge United. The only change to the squad came on the bench where Dean Winnard replaced Dan Whitehead.

Following a sustained spell of patient pressure in the opening 10 minutes, Stanley’s Sean Maguire saw a shot blocked inside the area whilst Jordan Hugill fired over the crossbar at the other end for the hosts.

Windass saw a shot flash over the top of Scott Flinders’ goal and Hartlepool’s Jonathan Franks headed wide from Michael Duckworth’s cross.

In a game of little quality, it was a moment of class, completely out of character from the rest of the contest, which broke the deadlock in Stanley’s favour.

Nicky Hunt played the ball towards Maguire, who nodded it on into the path of the onrushing Windass. On instinct, the midfielder lashed his shot towards goal first-time and it rocketed past Flinders into the top corner to give the Reds the lead.

Rob Atkinson headed wide from a corner with the last chance of the half as Stanley took a slender lead into the break.

Within the opening minute of the second period, Hugill jinked past a few men and advanced towards goal but his shot was off-target and didn’t trouble Scott Davies.

There was a scare for Stanley when Davies came to claim a free-kick and was beaten to the ball by David Mirfin, who nodded towards goal. Fortunately, a defender was in the right place to head off the line and preserve the lead.

Mirfin was then in action inside his own penalty area as Flinders saved Piero Mingoia’s shot but the ball looped up into the air and appeared to be heading for the back of the net until Mirfin cleared off the line.

Hartlepool brought on former Blackpool man Marlon Harewood in place of Franks and it paid dividends when Jordan Jones crossed for the veteran striker to nod across Davies into the far corner to bring Ronnie Moore’s side level.

The home side could have completed the turnaround to win it when Neil Austin whipped the ball across the six-yard box and Scott Fenwick stretched to make contact but could only divert the ball over the bar as the clock ticked into five minutes of stoppage time.

Despite a late bombardment, Stanley held firm to secure a point which ensured they would be playing their football in League Two next season.

Stanley: Davies; Hunt, Atkinson, Jones, Buxton (Liddle 65); Mingoia, Joyce, Conneely, Bruna (McCartan 57); Windass (Winnard 80); Maguire.
Subs not used: Warner, Barry, Naismith, Gilchrist.

Attendance: 4,159 (40 away)