JOHN Coleman admitted he was still “smarting” from the last time Stanley hosted Crewe in an extraordinary FA Cup tie that lasted three hours and saw the referee changed three times due to injury.

The then League Two outfit ran out 2-0 winners in the first round tie at the Wham Stadium but that was only half of the story.

Match referee Neil Hair limped off midway through the first half to be replaced by fourth official, Alan Clayton, who also picked up an injury and was unable to return for the second half.

Assistant referee, Danny Gratton, took over for the second half that eventually kicked off at 5.10pm while the remaining assistant, Conor Brown supervised the Crewe half – a decision made by the toss of a coin.

“The FA Cup game was a farce and don’t think it’s ever been addressed properly,” Coleman told the club website. “I am still upset about that defeat so it’s a chance to right a few wrongs.

“I am still smarting from last year’s defeat by them.”

Stanley are well placed to gain revenge tonight, on a run of one defeat in nine games and four consecutive clean sheets – but Coleman will not take anything for granted against a side beaten 4-1 by Portsmouth at the weekend.

“They have started well, I have watched them a few times and they play some good football,” added Coleman.

“They probably didn’t do themselves justice with the 4-1 on Saturday. If you watch the game, they were very much in the game in the first half and then they conceded two sloppy goals.”

“They probably had the better of the opening exchanges but you can’t concede goals at this level against good sides, you get punished, and then the game gets taken away from you and that was the case for them for Saturday.”

The Reds stretched their unbeaten run to four games to move up to ninth place following Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Lincoln but look likely to be without Sean McConville for the visit of a Crewe side that could include two Stanley old boys Omar Beckles and Offrande Zanzala.

Coleman says his side continues to work hard following their return to action after the enforced lay-off due to a Covid-19 outbreak at the club.

“You need a little bit of luck to keep clean sheets and to score goals and we just have to keep working hard and hope the luck goes in our favour,” he said.

“It’s still early days and, the effect of the Covid on the team, we are not quite sure how that will pan out for the rest of the season.

“We are pleased with the way it’s gone up to now. The appetite we have shown for games and in the main, if we can keep ticking along like this, it will be an enjoyable season.”