JOHN Coleman recently said that his worst game during his 10-year tenure at Accrington was when Dagenham scored two goals in injury time to grab a surprise 3-2 win at the FES in 2004.
That was as the Stanley boss looked back earlier this month over what has mostly been a positive 400 league games in charge of the Reds.
But he now has a new ‘worst’ game with which to replace that - Bradford City at home from Saturday.
His team were seemingly coasting at 2-0 against the play-off chasers with what should have been a deserved three points in the bag.
But then the Reds switched off and three goals in the final ten minutes took the boss to the depths of despair.
As Peter Thorne’s foot met the ball in the final minute, the Red’s chief showed his complete desolation on the touchline as his hands went to his head, he turned around and shook his head in total disbelief.
The lethal striker lashed the ball into the net to complete a stunning fightback for Bradford - and deflate Coleman’s Stanley side in the most awful of ways.
"This is the worst I have felt in football," said a dejected Coleman who did manage to stay calm after the game.
"I have never felt so low. We have lost the ability to win games and it is incredibly frustrating."
It was frustrating as, for 80 enjoyable minutes, the Reds looked like they were going to repeat their feat at Valley Parade the season before when they put on their best league show to win 3-0.
And if John Miles’ chip had managed to loop over keeper Rhys Evans’ outstretched hand on 66 minutes, to get the Reds to three, then that might have been that.
But it didn’t and a mad ten minutes at the end left Coleman unable to celebrate his 46th birthday in style as he was as stunned as the crowd who could not believe the Reds hadn’t picked up their first three points in seven games.
Instead Stanley were consigned to their sixth league loss in seven matches - one point out of 21 - and Coleman admitted he faced a big job to pick himself and his team up after the late loss.
He continued: "We have been unlucky - especially with some refereeing decisions - but at the end of the day we shouldn’t need a refereeing decision to win us the game. We should be able to close a game out with a 2-0 lead with 10 minutes to go.
"We were magnificent for 80 minutes and then we defended like Sunday League rank amateur players. I feel for the players as they have played well for 80 minutes and I feel for myself and Jimmy (Bell).
"The first person I have got to pick up is myself because I am absolutely deflated. The best team lost, it’s as simple as that."
And that’s how the fans felt leaving the stadium - stunned and shell-shocked that the Reds had nothing to show for their efforts.
This was especially as it had all seemed so comfortable.
Stanley were passing the ball around with ease while promotion contenders Bradford were struggling to break down the solid Stanley defence.
Admittedly, the crossbar did save the home side once - Joe Colbeck hit it with a free kick in the first half, deflected off Peter Cavanagh, while a Kyle Nix effort was cleared off the line in the early stages.
But, for most of the 80 minutes, the experienced strikeforce of Thorne and Michael Boulding were being kept out of the game.
Instead it was a lively Miles and Jimmy Ryan who were running the show with John Mullin putting in a good stint in midfield as he never wasted a pass.
And the opener must have given Coleman a sense of pride as it was straight off the training ground.
Bradford boss Stuart McCall had warned his players about set-pieces but Miles’ corner was played in perfectly, dummied by Cavanagh and Ryan struck the ball beautifully for his third goal of the season - he would have been happy with that one after two ‘scuffed’ goals.
Man of the Match Miles could have had a second just after the re-start. His audacious chip from 40 yards almost caught Evans off his line but the keeper clawed the ball away.
The winger, though, played a big part in the second five minutes after the re-start. He threaded the ball through for Terry Gornell who slotted the ball home as Bradford waited for the off-side flag. It was his first league goal and will have given the teenager confidence.
And Miles then had that chance to make it three but Evans somehow got his finger-tips to his chip after the winger had raced to the edge of the area unmarked.
How the home fans were loving it, making more and more noise, while the Bantams supporters seemed to be getting increasingly agitated as, despite crossing counties in their numbers, their side was having little joy.
And it could have been worse for them if Graeme Lee had received a harsher punishment for bringing down Rostyn Griffiths, who was running on goal on 72 minutes.
The skipper was shown a yellow by championship ref Michael Jones - City fans felt Matthew Clarke was also covering - but this angered Coleman after Robbie Williams saw red for a similar offence last week at Barnet.
"That was the turning point for me," said Coleman. "They will argue there might have been a covering man back but I think Rostyn’s momentum has taken him clean through on goal."
Stanley wasted the resulting free kick but, with the three points seemingly destined for the underdogs, McCall had to do something and he gambled on experienced striker Barry Conlon for a three-pronged attack - and it proved to be a defining moment.
Coleman, meanwhile, brought on Andy Procter for goal hero Ryan, hoping to give the midfielder some time on the field as he returns from a knee injury. But it was a hard game for him to get into as the Bantams suddenly turned up the heat.
And, with ten minutes left, it all went wrong for the Reds. Colbeck sent ex-Mansfield man Boulding through on the left and he hit a superb right foot shot into the top corner of the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Stanley fans were hoping that was only a consolation but the visiting supporters could sense something - and lifted their team.
And they roared their side on when, with just two minutes to go, captain Cavanagh gave away a free kick 30 yardds out.
Paul McClaren found the head of ex-Darlington man Conlon who finished perfectly. An equaliser was bad enough - surely there couldn’t be a third?
But, in the next attack and in the last minute of the game, Colbeck broke and found Thorne and he wasn’t going to miss as Coleman’s hands reached for his head.
That Dagenham result doesn’t hurt as much - this one does now.