PETER Cavanagh is the most successful captain in Accrington Stanley's history - and he could add the scorer of one of the most important goals to his honours by the end of the season.
The 25-year-old has had a torrid campaign with a knee injury causing him to miss a large chunk of his League Two debutant season.
But manager John Coleman had asked his players to stand up and be counted in their must-win relegation encounter with bottom side Torquay on Saturday - and his skipper did just that.
Billed as one of the biggest games in Stanley's history, Coleman's side needed a win in front of a bumper crowd of 4004 with plenty of the East Lancashire public taking advantage of the free admission.
And, after missing chance after chance, the captain took a low free kick in the final minute and the relief and celebration when it crept in could be heard reverberating around the ground.
He raced off to celebrate what could just be the goal to stop Stanley being instantly relegated to the Conference - and how vital it was will be clear by May.
It was just rewards for the Reds who came out and showed the hundreds of new faces in the crowd what their club is all about.
They battled hard in the driving rain and there were plenty of gasps, disbelieving moans and hands on heads as an entertaning Stanley just couldn't find the goals to see off a battling ten-man Gulls.
But the fans kept cheering, the atmosphere kept bubbling and, at the death, Cavanagh was sliding on the floor as he broke the Gulls hearts.
"Peter has got a knack of scoring last minute free kicks," said Coleman of his captain of six years.
"He is clever enough to spot where the keeper is going and I think he had spotted that the keeper has gone behind the wall on the previous two free kicks so he has been clever enough to do that and was rewarded.
"We could have had three or four goalsbut if we had come off nil-nil I would have been bitterly disappointed but I couldn't have complained as the work-rate was magnificent.
"If there is any criticism, perhaps we rushed a few things in front of goal but that is understandable with the position we are in.
"What I am delighted in is that we kept our heads and kept going. I wrote the word up which was our buzz word last year - 'relentless' - that was what we had to be and that is what we were to the letter of the law."
It did look like Stanley were going to be consigned to their first goalless draw in 80 league games and held by the resilient Gulls who were down to ten men for the final 35 minutes following winger Lee Mansell's sliding challenge on last man Shaun Whalley.
It seemed the majority of the crowd were going to go home frustrated as Torquay keeper Simon Rayner and his defence threw themselves in front of every Stanley attack.
Then came the winner - and Coleman thanked the fans, decked out in a sea of red despite getting soaked, for playing their part in the much-needed win.
"The crowd were magnifcent and lets hope they take the impetus on too," said the Reds manager. "I think they have seen how the players have responded to it. We haven't played like that at home all season - well probably since the Notts Forest game when there was a big crowd on - and it shows you what it does.
"It shows how it lifts them and how they respond and now myself, the players, Jimmy, Eric, all the staff, the tea lady and the town have got to behind us and give it a good push to the end of the season."
With just eight league games remaining it is all still tightly balanced and, despite the Gulls now being nine points adrift, their manager Keith Curle hasn't thrown in the towel on his side's League Two life.
Despite keeping his players locked in the Stanley dressing room for more than an hour after the game, Curle said: "Of course the belief is still there and the players wouldn't be allowed at the club if they didn't have the belief.
"What was said in the changing rooms stays there but it was a realisation that we had blown an opportunity to close the gap on another team just above us."
And he must have been frustrated that his side couldn't find a way past a Reds defence that had not kept a clean sheet in 23 league games - when they travelled to Torquay on October 12.
Instead the Stanley backline was superbly marshalled by Liverpool teenager Godwin Antwi, on his debut, who also showed he is no slouch at the other end by having a go with a header and a shot which threatened to break the deadlock.
"Godwin and keeper Dave Martin played a big part in the clean sheet," continued Coleman. "Both of them were positive and showed their hunger to play but I think we defended from the front as a team.
"We said before the game we had to have marks of sevens or eights out of ten and I think we had eights or nines. I couldn't pick out anybody who wouldn't have been eight or above.
"Personally, Andy Procter was my man of the match - he covered every blade of grass."
It was what the Reds needed to do in what must have been a nervy match for the majority of the players who have mostly been involved in promotion battles in the past.
But they came out to a rapturous reception from the noisy crowd - although the 470 Torquay fans who made the long trip to Lancashire also deserve credit.
And, from the kick off, it was end to end. Goalie Dave Martin, who had played just four minutes for the Reds previously before injuring his ankle, was almost caught out immediately when Mansell tried a strike from distance but it was wide. And the Liverpool man had to finger-tip over a 16th minute cross/shot from the lively winger.
But these were minor excursions into the Reds half as the home side forced wave after wave of attacks.
Andy Mangan's effort was deflected wide, Antwi skied the ball from a corner, wideman Whalley tested Rayner and striker Paul Mullin headed into the keeper's arms from six yards out.
Andy Todd had a go, Whalley tried his luck again and Mullin had another flick on which Rayner kept out.
Surely the goal had to come and it finally looked like they had carved out the opening on the stroke of half-time.
Mullin and Cavanagh linked up well with the striker playing in a high cross which Rayner went for and ended up floored. The ball fell nicely for Whalley who lashed it goalwards but it was blocked on the goalline - with appeals for hand ball, ignored by the referee.
Torquay were still rocked by this when Procter got the ball on the edge of the area but Rayner recovered to pull off a top class save and keep Stanley out at the half-time whistle much to the frustration of the watching hoards - and the manager.
The nerves were still jangling after the break but Mullin could have calmed them in spectacular style with an overhead kick which was, though, off target.
Then came the turning point. Mangan's deflected ball fell nicely for Whalley who raced through down the centre on goal. Mansell caught him from behind on the edge of the area and referee Carl Boyeson had no alternative but to show the winger the red card.
Stanley were waiting for a penalty but the referee pointed to a free kick a couple of inches outside the area and Whalley dusted himself down but blasted over.
Then it was back to the walls for the Gulls as they threw their bodies in front of everything.
Antwi headed over, Rayner kept out Mangan, Jay Harris fired wide and Todd beat three men only to bang the ground in frustration as he didn't test the keeper.
Then, as the fourth official held up three minutes of extra time, Mullin was fouled on the edge of the area. Curle felt it was a harsh free kick but Cavanagh stepped up and sent the crowd into raptures.
Coleman, who was sent to the stands eight minutes from time for questioning a refereeing decision, admitted it was agony for him.
"It is amazing how emotions can change within the space of four seconds.
"We got the free kick and I thought 'he has got to play more than three minutes.'
"We scored and then it was 'where has he got three minutes from?'
"But I think it was a smashing game with both sides totally committed, fighting for their lives and showed it. I think if both sides show that spirit they won't be far away come the end of the season.
"But nothing is decided - what we have to do is concentrate on just winning games. It is going to be a long hard slog but we have got to have players who are up for the fight.
"They showed they were up for the fight against Torquay but we we have had a couple of these false dawns before and it was a long time ago when we had back to back wins. If we can get that, who knows where that will take us."
But he will be hoping his team's spirit, combined with a continuing vocal support, will help steer the Reds to League Two safety.