ACCRINGTON came crashing back down to earth with a bump as bogey team Darlington spoilt their solid start.
After a strong away win over Wycombe and a good show against Championship side Leicester, there were high hopes that Stanley could show they mean business this season and turn over promotion chasing Darlington.
But Saturday brought back some of the bad signs from the last campaign with poor defending, wasted chances and a defeat meaning there was a reality check for Stanley's early season optimism.
However, manager John Coleman has plenty of time to work on things and change it around if necessary as they look to compete at the right end of the table.
And one of the aims will be to turn the Fraser Eagle Stadium back into a home fortress again.
The Reds had made it a formidable place to come at the back end of last season with five successive wins saving Stanley from the drop.
They have now lost their two opening home clashes and not scored at the FES - although Saturday was always going to be a firm test against the Quakers, who have spent big in the summer and made huge changes to their side.
The Reds found them hard enough to deal with then, with two defeats against the North East team and Dave Penney's side have now surged to the top of the early table.
But for Accrington, it was a poor day all round with a crowd of just 1800 for their first home league game and their worst home result in their short League Two lives.
"I am disappointed, the players are disappointed and it wasn't good enough," said dejected boss John Coleman.
"We are capable of competing with sides like Darlington but if we defend like we did, giving silly goals away, and be wasteful in front of their goal, you are going to lose games no matter who you are playing against. I know we can compete with teams like this but we have got to keep up the levels we have achieved so far this season and we were a way short of that."
There was also signs of early unrest from the fans as they started chanting substitute "Leighton McGivern's" name, still sat on the bench, as the game went away from the Reds and they struggled in front of goal.
"What the crowd chant doesn't influence me as a person and wouldn't influence my decisions, " said Coleman. "But I find it offensive to the players in the team at the time."
Those players were giving their all but just couldn't find a way through. The back four were kept busy by the strike force of Tommy Wright and £100,000 record buy Pawel Abbott while the Quakers wingers were a threat.
The visiting defence looked solid but Stanley did dominate the centre of midfield - but couldn't make it count. Jay Harris and Andy Procter added urgency as Stanley hunted for a breakthrough, they never shirked a tackle and had a go at goal.
"Jay Harris was the best player on the pitch from both sides," said Coleman. "Andy Procter wasn't far behind and had a tremendous work-rate and it is hard, when you dominate the midfield, to lose 3-0."
There wasn't really a sign of the goals to come in a testy opening 25 minutes when neither side came close. But then Darlington took the first real chance of the game thanks to a defensive lapse.
A cross from the right by former Hereford man Rob Purdie found the diving head of Wright who got ahead of Robbie Williams to place it past Kenny Arthur.
Coleman admitted: "I praised Kenny last week for his world class save at Wycombe but he should have caught that ball and it has cost us a goal."
There were further chances for Darlington with Arthur saving from Abbott and Michael Cummins trying to chip the ball into the net with Arthur stranded - but fortunately for the Reds it sailed into the Clayton End.
Stanley were still passing the ball around well without really testing former York keeper David Stockdale but then, at the end of the first half, they came alive.
Rommy Boco got into a good position but his strike almost across the goalline from a tight angle only found a Darlington player while Lee McEvilly fired wide after Boco put him clean through.
Then Mullin had a go from close range after good work from Boco on the stroke of half-time but could not find the back of the net.
However this impetus was undone by the half-time whistle and the Reds were dealt the killer blow three minutes after the restart.
Stanley were caught out of position after a set-piece and Chris Palmer whipped the ball in for Abbott to stroke the ball under the diving Arthur's body.
To be fair, the Reds didn't give in with Procter trying to change the game on his own, charging through from midfield only to fire over from 25 yards.
Procter also had a free header but it was comfortable for Stockdale while Harris never stopped pressing and kept the visiting keeper alert.
Coleman changed it round putting on winger Shaun Whalley and going three at the back with the introduction of the fans' man McGivern with 13 minutes left.
And he linked up well with captain Peter Cavanagh in one move but the skipper slid the ball just wide in the hunt for a goal.
Then, just as four minutes of injury time was held up, Williams hauled down another Stanley bogeyman Greg Blundell in the area.
The defender could have few complaints and did manage to survive not being shown a card although he was punished enough when Abbott sent Arthur the wrong way.
There was still time for an over head kick from McGivern as he tried to notch his first goal of the season but it was a Stanley side who were well beaten by the end.
"Their second goal was typical," said a frustrated Coleman. "They scuff their cross and the lad buries it. We got into those situations a lot but didn't take the chances.
"We did not play well but we still could have had five goals.
"I guess the start we have had sums up my eight years here of ups and downs. There have been more ups than downs and hopefully there are more ups to come."