Stanley should have been celebrating a last gasp goal to keep them in the FA Cup, another bite at the cherry in a replay, a chance of £27,000 in prize money and a local derby in round three against Burnley.
However, Port Vale’s Kris Taylor had other ideas.
With the Reds a goal down at Vale Park and heading out of the competition on a freezing Friday night, substitute Chris Turner was sure he’d scored when he drilled the ball goalwards in stoppage time.
But Taylor was on the line to repel the ball away and end their FA¿Cup dreams for this season.
"Kevin Long took the ball to the by-line, everyone went rushing in and he smashed the ball across the six-yard-box," said Turner.
"I wasn’t expecting it and maybe I should have been a bit more on my toes and it went past me.
"I slid in and managed to get it on target and it hit the defender’s heel on the line and came out."
The second round clash in the Potteries was a long way from classic cup fayre with neither side on top form and the top of the table Valiants in front thanks to Justin Richards’ first half strike.
But after the full-time whistle, the incident in the final moments was the talking point for all inside the ground.
"It’s one of those where 99 times out of 100 they go in," groaned Turner, who was back following a three game ban at Vale Park.
"Two yards out and it’s a freak bounce off the defender’s heel. Watching the draw on Sunday knowing we won’t be in it has killed the lads. Killed them completely."
For former Turf Moor trainee and Clarets fan Turner, Vale’s pairing with Burnley must have been particularly painful, especially as it so easily could have been John Coleman’s men in the hat.
Stanley started the game poorly, with Vale full back Adam Yates lashing wide inside 90 seconds.
"We were awful in the first half an hour that culminated in giving a stupid goal away," admitted Coleman.
The home side thought they had scored in the 16th minute when Robert Taylor sprinted onto a pass down the left channel and Stanley keeper Ian Dunbavin elected to try to beat him to the ball.
The attacker won the race only to see his shot stabbed off the line by Sean Hessey.
It was a temporary reprieve though, as Justin Richards tapped home from close range in the 23rd minute after Robert Taylor had headed down a Gary Roberts corner to give the Valiants the advantage.
Justin Richards, unlike prolific strike partner Marc, had gone 13 games without a goal before he found the net in the first round replay against Dartford.
Only after Vale’s John McCombe – a one-time Stanley target – had rattled the bar with a header did Stanley really start to play; Ray Putterill also hitting the woodwork with a drive just before the interval.
"That was our luck," said Turner. We didn’t have any. I know I’m making excuses and you make your own luck, but we had that chance (in the last minute) and hit the bar and I just think that we don’t get the luck that other teams do in situations like that."
After the break the Reds were much the better side, with Putterill and Charlie Barnett both shooting just wide but, despite the introduction of Rory Boulding and Turner and a switch to 4-4-2, they couldn’t make the required impact.
"We didn't work their keeper enough," admitted Coleman. "We dominated possession in the second half but we didn’t work their keeper like we should.
"Our shooting was woeful."
At the other end, Marc Richards missed a good chance to end the tie as a contest but by failing to score set up a frantic stoppage time flurry for the Reds, which saw Dunbavin up for two corners before Turner was so cruelly denied with virtually the last kick of the game.
"Port Vale were definitely there for the taking," said the 20-year-old.
"We worked hard and had a few shots, Rory Boulding did well when he came on and had a few efforts and I tried to be as positive as I could but it was just one of those games where we needed that little bit of luck where a shot went in via a deflection or something.
"Losing hurts in particular because it’s the FA Cup. We beat Oldham and did great and the big boys are in the next round. With the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United in the third round I think all the lads in the dressing room felt sick."