John Coleman tasted victory on his return to Accrington after Jason Kennedy's late wonder goal saw Rochdale triumph 3-2 at the Crown Ground.
Coleman, Stanley manager for 13 years before leaving to take up the reins at Dale in January, had his team fired up and George Donnelly gave them the dream start. With less than 30 seconds on the clock the striker got the ball after the hosts gave it away in midfield and fired home a wonderful effort from 30 yards.
Stanley's Ian Dunbavin was the busier goalkeeper, denying Ashley Grimes while Danny Schofield cleared a Grimes effort off the line. The home side came into it but when Toto Nsiala made a desperate lunge on Dele Adebola in the area after 32 minutes, Grimes stepped up to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot.
However, Accrington got a goal back five minutes later after they broke quickly from a Rochdale corner. Padraig Amond charged forward and passed to the unmarked Piero Mingoia, on loan from Watford, who rifled the ball home from 20 yards. And they should have equalised shortly afterwards when a long ball from Luke Joyce found Mingoia charging in, he got ahead of his defender but just failed to make a proper connection.
However, Stanley did level two minutes after the re-start thanks to a Josh Lillis howler. Rommy Boco's 35-yard effort looked harmless but the goalkeeper could not keep hold of it and the ball slipped through his hands.
The game could have gone either way but Kennedy was allowed space to run from midfield and he fired home from 25 yards with seven minutes remaining.