JOHN Coleman admitted his much-changed Accrington Stanley side were well beaten by Lincoln City on Tuesday night but said he was happy to give his young players the opportunity to play.

The League One leaders ran out 4-0 winners to end the Reds’ involvement in the Papa John’s Trophy which means their wait for a first Wembley appearance goes on.

Coleman made wholesale changes to the team that impressively won 2-0 at Charlton on Friday night to move in the play-off positions.

Harry Perritt made his Stanley debut, Zehn Mohammad had a rare start and Jack Bolton made a first appearance in a Reds shirt off the bench.

“The one thing that we don’t do, we don’t deny these lads opportunities,” said Coleman. “Plenty of other teams don’t even fill their bench with youth team players and I can never understand that really.

“You’re giving these lads the night of their lives. Perhaps Lincoln could have put one or two on when the game was won. But it’s not for me to decide what other teams do.”

He added: “They ran their socks off. Harry (Perritt) was pulling up with a bit of cramp towards the end, Zehn (Mohammad) hasn’t had a lot of football, Jack Bolton got on as well.

“It’s good to get players through from the Academy playing a game.”

Unlike Stanley, Lincoln fielded close to a full-strength side and it showed as danger man Zack Elbouzed scored one and set up two with Robbie Gotts, Brennan Johnson and Jorge Grant also on target for the Imps.

“It’s hard really, we’ve been comprehensively beaten, no complaints,” added Coleman. “It’s just so difficult having to make so many changes and a lot of them were enforced and we had to get some minutes into some legs.

“They had a stronger side to us and it showed. No disrespect to the players that go in but you want to put these lads in in small numbers rather than big numbers and when you change eight or nine it’s difficult to get a handle on how you’re going to play.

“We work a lot on shape. It’s difficult to settle in and a lot of lads hadn’t played for a while and it showed. And they were just sharper than us and fitter than us. Good luck to them.”

Stanley’s rejigged side included starting with an unfamiliar back four while Chelsea loanee Tariq Uwakwe was deployed in the centre of midfield.

Coleman said they will now prepare for the visit of Gillingham on Saturday and hope to give a better account of themselves for next month’s trip to Lincoln.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to hold your hand up, dust yourself down and go again, which we will do on Saturday. Let’s hope they see a stronger outfit when we play them in the league.”