When Paul Mullin ran onto the Crown Ground for Morecambe for the final 13 minutes it seemed scripted that the ex-Stanley favourite would grab a winner in a feisty Lancashire derby.
But, like in every good thriller, there is a always a twist and it was Accrington’s Jimmy Ryan who provided the element of surprise with a late wonder goal to make sure it was the Reds who had a happy ending.
Mullin was returning to Stanley for the first time since he left in August after almost a decade at the Crown Ground.
He has been suffering from a knee injury but, when he came on to cheers from all fans with the score delicately balanced at 2-2, there was also something of a groan as he seemed destined to hurt the club where he had so many good times.
"To be honest, I have been dreading and looking forward to this game at the same time and it’s nice to get it out of the way," said the 35-year-old.
"I got a nice reception and it’s nice to come back and I had one chance that I thought I could have done better with. A goal would have sealed it although it wasn’t meant to be.
"You cannot fail to be impressed with the current Accrington team - they have a lot of energy, they are fit and they can score goals.
"It was a really open game - but disappointing for us. I had also forgot how bad the away dressing rooms were!"
But there was nothing bad for goal hero Ryan who stole the headlines with a 20-yard volley which even Morecambe boss Sammy McIlroy was full of praise for.
"You can’t do a lot about that - it was a great strike," said the former Man Utd star.
And Ryan himself was all smiles as the Reds made it six league wins out of seven games.
"It is up there with the best of them," said the 21-year-old who tends to like the spectacular goals. "I caught it perfectly and I was stretching and when it went in, it was brilliant - one of my best goals - but I hope I can score an even better one this year.
"It was a really tough game and, at 2-2, it could have gone either way so I am made up to get the winner.
"We always believe we can score - when we go behind we don’t put our heads down we just think "game on" and we have a lot of confidence and keep working together."
Stanley boss John Coleman admitted though that, as well as the skill on show, there was also an element of luck with the win over the Shrimps, who haven’t beaten Stanley since 2005.
The Reds did have to come back twice from behind before grabbing another three points in their quest for the play-offs.
"Morecambe are a good side, they came at us in the first 20 minutes and looked in the mood to take us apart but, every time theywent ahead, we got back into the game quickly and we have scored two wonderful goals.
"If anyone saw a better goal that Jimmy Ryan’s over the weekend then they must have had too many to drink!
"Jimmy has admitted his shooting hasn’t been his best this season but it’s not out of the blue - we know he can do that. I feel for Morecambe as you can’t defend that."
But Coleman felt his side should have defended better as they gifted Morecambe’s Dave Artell two goals - after he had scored just one all season prior to Saturday,
The first came after tricky winger Neil Wainwright was sent free and played in the perfect low cross and Artell got ahead of the Reds defence to prod home.
And then Craig Stanley floated in a free kick and Artell was again first to react.
It was Bobby Grant who got the Reds back into it both times - Laurence Wilson kept out a Michael Symes shot on the line and it fell to Grant to blast home his first.
And his second was a perfect free kick from the edge of the area which sailed beyond the outstretched Barry Roche for a stunning 15 goals for the season for the youngster.
There were plenty more chances in an end-to-end thriller with Morecambe keeper Roche outstanding at the end with wonder saves from Symes and Luke Joyce.
And the tackles were flying in too with Sean McConville and Tom Lees both on the receiving end of late challenges with fans relieved when both recovered.
But competitiveness, thrills, spills and skills is what derbies are all about - and this didn’t disappoint any fans who anticipate this clash every season.
And once again, Stanley put derby rivals Morecambe in their place - and Mullin couldn’t stop his former club chalking up another win against the Shrimps.