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League Two

Accrington Stanley boss James Beattie has lofty goals

3 May 2014

James Beattie is determined to help Accrington Stanley finish better than 15th next season after they closed out their season with a 3-2 victory over AFC Wimbledon.

The Stanley boss led his side to mid-table safety after their final-day victory - a huge achievement considering they were rock bottom of the table in October.

Now, despite having the lowest budget in Sky Bet League Two, he is determined to improve next season.

"I want us to progress and be better," said Beattie. "I want us to improve next year and for as long as I am here.

"It does depend on our budget but, if it's similar to this year and we can get an injection of cash, then anything is possible.

"I am so proud of the lads. We had picked up just four points in the first 12 games and to come back from that is a remarkable achievement.

"I always knew they could do it and I am delighted as it's the highest we have been all season.

"They have shown a great amount of character and I am proud to be their manager."

A mistake on six minutes by Dons defender Alan Bennett allowed the home side to open the scoring. On-loan Rotherham striker Kayode Odejayi latched onto the loose ball and raced ahead of his marker and tucked the ball into the bottom corner of the net from 15 yards.

It was 2-0 on 19 minutes when young striker James Gray got his head to a Will Hatfield corner and it looped into the net. The third goal came just two minutes after the break when, after a Nicky Hunt effort was saved, Gray headed home another Hatfield corner.

Dons boss Neal Ardley made three substitutions as his side looked to get back in it and one of them, Danny Hylton, won a penalty after a foul by Luke Joyce on 74 minutes. Jack Midson slotted home from the spot, his seventh goal of the season.

And, in late drama, Kwesi Appiah's header appeared to be cleared off the line- but referee Mark Brown gave the goal in the 89th minute. However, Accrington held on to celebrate a successful season.

Ardley, meanwhile, finished the season frustrated as his side were 3-0 down after 47 minutes and, despite their late revival, they could not claw it back.

"It's not often I say this but I felt the players were dishonest," said Ardley.

"In my pre-match team talk I asked for them to finish the season with pride but we made a school-boy mistake for the first goal and then we have been out-jumped by a 20-year-old twice for the next two goals from set-pieces.

"It was awful and not a reflection of the work me and my staff do. When it's my fault, I hold my hands up as it's my players and my tactics but at Accrington, we let ourselves down.

"We were mentally weak. It's down to me to change it and I will."

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