Barnard sees off Stanley
Lee Barnard scored a penalty five minutes from time to secure promotion favourites Southend a 1-0 win at Accrington.
Substitute Barnard was judged to have been fouled in the area by Dean Winnard in the 84th minute and the striker sent debutant goalkeeper Luke Simpson the wrong way.
It was agony for 19-year-old keeper Simpson who had earlier saved a Barry Corr penalty in the 46th minute of his Football League debut.
Stanley defender Winnard was then judged to have fouled on-loan Tottenham man Shaquille Coulthirst one minute after the restart and Corr fired straight down the middle with Simpson collecting it.
Stopper Simpson had been outstanding, also finger-tipping over Myles Weston's goalbound strike in a one-on-one situation in the first half.
The keeper also collected long range strikes from Ben Coker and Ryan Leonard.
It was not all Southend's way as, as early as the second minute, Stanley striker James Gray's deflected strike crashed against the woodwork.
And Josh Windass wasn't too far away with a 30-yard chip on the stroke of half time which was just over Dan Bentley's crossbar.
Windass, son of Hull legend Dean, also came close midway through the second half volleying narrowly over.
However there was late heartbreak for Stanley - while Phil Brown's men were celebrating.