Accrington Stanley were crowned Champions of Sky Bet League Two after beating Lincoln City 1-0 in front of a record Wham Stadium crowd of 4,753.
Jordan Clark’s first half goal ensured that the Reds will enter League One as Champions, as John Coleman’s side produced a superb battling performance against a physical Imps side.
Clark’s eighth goal of the season came following good work by Sean McConville before the Stanley winger steered his shot home through a sea of bodies.
After securing promotion last time out at home, the full-time whistle once again sparked memorable scenes in East Lancashire as Captain Seamus Conneely lifted the trophy out on the pitch.
Lincoln made a bright start, but the first real opportunity fell to Stanley. Conneely’s well-struck half-volley from the edge of the area was headed for the bottom corner, before an outstretched boot turned it round the post.
The opening half hour saw a real physical battle between both sides, with lots of set pieces into the area, but little in the way of goalmouth action, apart from Sean McConville’s dipping half-volley which was always going slightly over.
Stanley went ahead in the 35th minute, McConville darting past two defenders before delivering across the face of goal, the ball found winger Clark who turned it home through a sea of bodies – his ninth of the season.
When Conneely was brought down on the stroke of half-time, League Two’s leading goalscorer Billy Kee had the chance to double his sides advantage. However, the forward’s low penalty was stopped by Ryan Allsop – meaning Stanley went in with a slender lead at the break.
The first action of the second period came in the 58th minute, when Kayden Jackson shifted through the gears to beat his man and fire a ball across the face of goal, which was turned behind by a strong hand from Allsop, with a line of Stanley players waiting to apply the finish.
The play-off chasing Imps began to apply some pressure as the game approached the final 20 minutes, Michael Bostwick firing a free-kick from a promising position straight into the wall before Luke Waterfall headed wide from the resulting corner.
The visitors continued to push, but they couldn’t find an equaliser as Clark cleared off the line deep into stoppage time – and then the party could start for Stanley, who extended their home unbeaten run to 12 matches.