DEFENSIVE disasters spared Rovers defeat to their lower-division neighbours at a sun-kissed Store First Stadium last night.

James Beattie’s Reds twice took the lead through Piero Mingoia and James Gray.

But their hopes of claiming a pre-season scalp were dashed by horrible gaffes which resulted in simple equalisers for David Dunn and Tom Cairney.


Rovers handed first appearances of the summer to Paul Robinson, Alex Baptiste, Markus Olsson, Corry Evans and Dunn.

And it was Dunn who was their standout player in a first half in which impressive Stanley could count themselves unfortunate not to be in front come the end of it.

In the opening 15 minutes the evergreen midfielder fired over on the stretch and was involved in a flowing move which ended with new right-back Baptiste blazing high and wide.

Rovers were threatening an early breakthrough and Jordan Rhodes twice had excellent opportunities to provide one following raking passes over the top by captain Grant Hanley, But in the first instance his touch let him down while in the second, after he did bring the ball into his path, he hammered over the stand under pressure from Tom Aldred.

From that moment on the League Two outfit were the better team and, after Josh Windass curled inches past Robinson’s post, Mingoia opened the scoring in the 20th minute.

Kal Naismith was the architect, controlling a pinpoint cross-field pass and running at Olsson before pulling the ball back for the midfielder to rifle past Robinson from 12 yards out.

And only an offside flag denied the Reds a second after the unmarked Gray turned in a free kick from Windass.

Gary Bowyer’s Championship side, fresh back from a week of warm-weather training in Portugal, were struggling in defence, particularly down their left flank.

But they were gifted a way back into the match two minutes before the break when Andrew Dawber and his defence failed to deal with a routine cross, allowing the alert Dunn to turn the ball into the empty net.

Stanley, however, went back in front 10 minutes after the restart thanks to a fantastic finish from Gray.

With Rovers caught upfield the hosts launched a blistering counter which culminated in Mingoia threading a pass through to the Northern Ireland international who curled an unerring 20-yard shot into the top corner.

But parity was restored six minutes later after another comedy of errors between Dawber and his backline gifted Cairney a tap-in.

And to make matters worse for the goalkeeper injured himself in attempting to atone for his mistake.

Gray went close to putting the Reds back in front with a cross-shot that hit the post before Craig Conway and Luke Varney went close at the other end.

Rovers brought on nine young substitutes, including former Stanley winger Connor Mahoney.

But there was to be no further scoring.

Stanley: Dawber (Turner 63), Hunt, Liddle (Beverley 77), Joyce, Aldred (Atkinson 77), Winnard, Naismith (Clunan 76), Windass (Goulding 86), Gray (Ormerod 76), Hatfield (Martin 76), Mingoia. Subs not used: McCartan, Jenkins.

Rovers: Robinson (Raya 75), Baptiste (Carson 75), Hanley (Daly 75), Kilgallon (Lenihan 75), Olsson (O'Sullivan 46), King (Rittenberg 75), Evans (Tanner 75), Cairney (Jorge 75), Conway (Mahoney 75), Dunn (Varney 46), Rhodes (Bauress 75). Subs not used: Preston, Doyle.