John Coleman knew his side’s unbeaten start to 2011 couldn’t last forever – but the Reds boss was furious with the way they lost it.
Coleman was not mad at his players on Tuesday night who battled hard, led through Terry Gornell, who forced Shrews keeper Ben Smith into a man-of-the-match show and also hit the woodwork.
But he was furious with Staffordshire referee Chris Sarginson who was fussy, giving Shrewsbury a lot of free kicks around the Reds’ box, and Coleman felt Stanley were denied a clear-cut penalty for a push on Gornell.
The Reds chief said the man in the middle was ‘not fair’ as the Shrews moved into the play-offs and the loss kept the Reds in 12th spot – and halted their four game unbeaten run.
"It’s disappointing and I don’t think the Shrewsbury will believe they have won the game 3-1," said Coleman after the game.
"The referee has given them possibly 12 free kicks that weren’t free kicks and from one of them they have got a corner which they scored their opener from.
"They have had a leg up and any neutral who watched the game, if they can’t see the Shrews have had a big leg up from the referee, then they don’t know anything about football.
"The next big decision the referee has to make is a push on Terry Gornell for a penalty which would have made it 2-2.
"But he doesn’t give it and they went up the other end and made it 3-1. There is no way, shape or form that Shrewsbury are better than us, and, even though we didn’t play to our best, we were still better than Shrewsbury.
"What’s upset me most is that I was the only one complaining on the line. I do not think the ref was fair but maybe he was having a bad day like some of our players."
Stanley weren’t at their best against a Shrews side who hadn’t won in five matches but the Reds still dominated a large part of the first half with Smith producing a good save from a Gornell blast on the stroke of half-time.
It looked good for the Reds when, two minutes after the break, Gornell’s shot from the edge of the box took a deflection and finally beat Smith for his ninth of the season.
However then came the disputed free kick which led to the corner which James Collins, a former Ashton Villa striker, headed home.
Collins scored a second on 71 minutes when his strike partner Tom Bradshaw threaded the ball through, the Stanley defence appealed for offside against Mark Wright but Collins ran onto the loose ball and chipped Ian Dunbavin.
Smith kept out a Jimmy Ryan free kick and a Gornell close range effort and then came the contentious penalty decision where Gornell was grounded in the area. Despite appeals, the Shrews broke and their top scorer Wright finished well to seal the game.
It then became wide open with Shrews having a couple more chances while visiting stopper Smith somehow kept out sub Andy Parkinson while Rory Boulding had an effort tipped onto the crossbar in the dying minutes.
"We made more chances that Shrewsbury, worked their keeper more then they have worked ours but we have got to stop giving silly goals away which has plagued us all season," continued Coleman.
"Even though it wasn’t a corner for their first, we should defend it. We were a bit lucky with our goal but we didn’t have time to build on it as they got their goal straight away. For their second, we lost the ball cheaply and tried to play offside but the first and second goals were against the run of play.
"We have got to be better, we are clearly a better team than Shrewsbury but we have got to win these games, especially at home."
Shrews boss Graham Turner was quick to compliment the Reds: "Accrington play with heart, endeavour and spirit in their side and we had to match them which I think we did.
"We were desperate for that win and I think our attackers just gradually ground their defence down."