Charlie Barnett admitted the fear of his manager helped with his winning goal. The substitute secured a much-needed three points for the Reds to end a winless league run of five games.
Boss John Coleman had billed the Shots clash a ‘must-win’ game so Barnett admitted he needed to score that goal with time ticking on and just two minutes left.
"I didn’t realise it was so late on," said the 23-year-old. "But I knew I had to hit the target and not balloon it over or else the gaffer would have killed me!
"Luckily I got my head down and hit it and it went in and I am delighted to open my account for the season."
The final goal was a well-worked corner routine between Ian Craney and Barnett with a quick one-two before Barnett unleashed a fierce shot into the top corner of the net.
"I was relieved when that went in but I was more relieved at the final whistle," said Coleman. "It was like taking off a pair of shoes that were too tight."
The game wasn’t just about the win with a series of records broken in the clash.
Captain Andy Procter became only the second player in Stanley’s history to chalk up 400 appearances for the Reds – the 28-year-old is now closing in on Paul Mullin’s appearance record of 465.
And Danny Coid, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Monday, scored his first goal since November 2004 to bring it back to 2-2.
But Barnett admitted the turning point was half-time.
"There were a few home truths and a few harsh words said at the break," said Barnett.
"We all agreed we were a better team than we were showing and I think we reacted to that."
The Reds once again went behind for the fifth time at home in the league this season – something the manager and players know they need to eradicate.
It could have been a different story if Wes Fletcher had taken an early chance with seconds on the clock but he fired wide while Shots’ striker Danny Hylton didn’t waste his seventh minute chance, hooking the ball in when the Reds had a couple of chances to clear it.
However a stunning 25-year free kick from Sean Hessey four minutes later proved unstoppable.
But once more the dangerous Hylton – partnering the powerhouse Michael Rankine up front who gave the Reds’ backline a torrid time – got his head to a Alex Rodman free kick to send the Shots in at half-time ahead.
Their boss Dean Holdsworth admitted he side were so much in control in that first half, that he couldn’t understand what happened after the break but it’s credit to the Reds certainly upped their game – and that half-time discussion certainly did the trick.
Ian Craney began to have a bigger say in the game and it was his shot which deflected into the path of Coid and he blasted the ball home well for what it’s hoped will be the first of many Reds goals.
"That was worth the wait," said Coleman after the defender-turned-midfielder had gone seven years without a goal.
It was end to end with Stanley keeper Sean Murdoch pulling off a stunning save from the unmarked Luke Guttridge but that was the last the Shots really had to say after the break.
Craney was at the centre of everything, with both Craig Lindfield and Padraig Amond having a chance after hard work by the midfielder.
As Stanley piled on the pressure, Barnett had the final say and it was a vital win for the Reds, if they are to challenge at the top end of the table like they did last season.
"We were desperate for that win," said record breaking captain Procter.
"We had worked really hard to get back in it, so it was a huge relief when Charlie’s goal went in and it certainly made my day complete!
"I was proud to get to 400 games and proud for the Clayton End to recognise it with a banner but the win was more important than me.
"We really had to roll our sleeves up after the break. We didn’t want to let the play-off places get too far away and hopefully we can go on a decent run now, like we did last season, and climb the table."
Coleman admitted he didn’t enjoy the game as he was anxious throughout – knowing how much that win was needed.
"The lads knew we needed to win. The longer you go on a run without a win, the harder it is to get the points.
"Points are at a premium in this league and we needed to start picking up some wins.
"But all the goals were well taken. Sean’s was a super strike and I would say he is comfortably the best striker of a ball in this league and possibly the one higher.
"Hopefully Danny’s goal will be a boost for him and Charlie’s was well worked.
"We could have marked better for both their goals and it is something we will have to work on.
"You shouldn’t have to score three to win at home and if we have to do that, we will be in trouble.
"We played better in the second half but we are still not up to the standards that I know we can achieve."