Two goals in the final five minutes gave Accrington Stanley a crucial victory over promotion rivals Plymouth Argyle.

Billy Kee’s penalty and a Shay McCartan header in the dying embers of the match ended a four-match winless run of for John Coleman’s side.

Jake Jervis’ header did give the visitors a first-half lead, but the Reds showed great fighting spirit to pick up all three points and move up to fifth in the League Two table.

Stanley were looking to bounce back from losing to Portsmouth in midweek and made a bright start.

A good spell of possession moved towards the right hand side, giving Piero Mingoia an early sight on goal.

The winger jinked his way into the area before striking low and forcing Plymouth goalkeeper Luke McCormick to make a diving save to keep the scores level.

Argyle began to settle into the match and Greg Wylde’s half-volley from a Ruben Reid cross flew over the crossbar.

After a spell of three matches without a goal, Kee was on the hunt to end that run against the visitors.

The striker was able to cut inside from the left channel and produce a cross-cum-shot that went just wide and evaded the stretching Sean McConville at the far post.

But it was narrowest of margins that saw Accrington go behind as Jervis put Plymouth ahead.

An inswinging delivery from Graham Carey found the unmarked Jervis to looped his header over Ross Etheridge and just out of the goalkeeper’s reach.

The home side pushed for an equaliser as half-time approached and were dealt a huge blow as Matt Crooks had to be brought off because of an injury.

A late chance came the way of Kee in additional time after his great touch created room for a shot on the turn, but only found the grateful arms of McCormick.

Rommy Boco was making his 150th appearance for Stanley and came close to marking the occasion with a goal straight after the restart.

The attacking midfielder chased down an Accrington clearance and his driven effort was well held by Argyle’s ‘keeper.

John Coleman’s men continued to cause Plymouth problems and substitute McCartan almost made an instant impact.

With the ball out wide on the right, Mingoia’s cross was inch-perfect for the Northern Irishman to head home, but the effort trickled wide.

Visiting forward Reid looked to take advantage of a mistake in the Accrington back four, but his shot from a tight angle was comfortable for Etheridge to save.

With less than five minutes remaining, a long ball into the area found Kee with space and the striker was brought down by Kelvin Mellor at close range.

The fullback was dismissed for his foul before Kee dusted himself down and powered home the spot kick to ignite a late comeback.

As Stanley threw everything forward in search of all three points, McCartan bagged a vital goal to send the home crowd into raptures.

Matty Pearson’s ball into the box found McCartan and the attacking midfielder headed home after losing his marker.

The win sees Accrington move to within five points of the automatic promotion places and play their match in hand against Wycombe Wanderers on Wednesday evening.

Starting line-up: Etheridge; Pearson, Hughes, Davies, Buxton; Crooks (Brown 42′), Conneeley; Mingoia, Boco (McCartan 50′), McConville (Shaw 80’); Kee

Subs not used: Mooney, Halliday, Procter, Carver