FOOTBALL League football will have to wait another season - but John Coleman made sure Accrington Stanley didn't bow out with a whimper.
Defeat at Woking on Saturday had left the Reds desperately needing a victory against play-off hopefuls Aldershot on Tuesday - and they gave their all.
But, as manager Coleman said, the game summed up their whole season where, as good as the Reds were going forward, defensive howlers left them needing to do more.
The Reds can be so hard to handle as they have shown against Barnet, Exeter and Stevenage when charging towards the oppostition goal.
But the frailties - exposed against lesser teams like Forest Green, Farnborough and Northwich this season - were once again to the fore as the Reds gifted the Shots three goals.
But it meant the watching crowd - disappointing at 1,272 considering the big number from Aldershot - were treated to one of the most exciting second half's of the season with end-to-end football, controversial incidents, great goals and the game hanging on a knife edge until it was finished in the 94th minute.
"That game was symptomatic of our season," said the Reds chief. "If you score three goals at home you should win. I was disappointed with the first goal and the third was a comedy of errors.
"JK with a slice kick and then Chrissie Butler tries to do something ridiculous on the edge of his own box. But give the lads credit, they have got a litte bit of spirit and fought back and got the goal but against ten men they should do.
"We have condeded far too many goals this season and it is not just the defence who has made errors.
"When I looked around the dressing room, I think everyone of them has made an error at one stage or another that has cost us a goal and that shouldn't happen."
It was a breathtaking start from the Reds who threatened to do to the Shots what they had done to the likes of leaders Barnet and Stevenage in the past - and knock them out of sight.
Lee McEvilly made sure the defenders knew who he was within the first minute and it wasn't long before they made the breakthrough.
Steve Jagielka's high ball looked harmless enough but David Brown battled to keep it in and passed back for Gary Roberts to charge into the area and drill past Nikki Bull's outstretched legs.
But, while the Reds are solid up front, they showed the jitters at the back with Jon Kennedy coming out for a ball with Tim Sills and the dangerman got his head to the ball first but fired wide.
And the Reds were then stunned when Robbie Williams gave away a free kick on the edge of the area and set-piece king Darren Barnard fired the ball over the wall and into the net on 20 minutes.
The rest of the half was played out with fierce battles but not too many chances on goal alhough Gary's Holloway's fierce strike on the stroke of half time was well-saved by the Reds keeper.
But everything exploded after the break. On 55 minutes, Chris Butler made a brilliant block to stop a certain Jon Challinor goal but, as the ball came out, Nick Crittendon was upended in the area by Butler and the referee, Robert Lewis from Shrewsbury, immediately pointed to the spot - although the Reds protested it was outside the box. Kennedy dived the right way but Barnard tucked it into the bottom corne of the net.
The vocal Shots fans were still celebrating when, two minutes later, McEvilly broke through and was hacked down by Chris Giles. The ref again pointed to the spot but, after consulting with his assistant, pointed to a metre outside the area to the horror of the Red players. But Giles was shown a red for bringing down last man McEvilly and Stanley suddenly had the advantage.
McEvilly's resulting free kick was eventually deflected for a corner which Gary Roberts fired in. And the Stanley striker climbed up above the defence to make amends and head home a deserved equaliser.
Stanley then had a man sent off - with Coleman sent to the stands - but they kept it together on the pitch.
The game was end to end entertainment as both sides went on the hunt for the crucial winner.
And it looked like the ten men had made their impact when Kennedy miskicked a back pass but fortunately Butler picked it up in his own area. However, the relief was short-lived as he tried to dribble it and Gary Holloway dispossessed him and fired in a cross which Sills had no problem tapping home.
It was agony for the Reds but they showed their fighting qualities by then putting the ten men under constant pressure.
And they were rewarded when it was pin-ball in the Shots area with Roberts, sub Ian Craney and Andy Procter all involved before Brown played the ball in for McEvilly and he blasted home his second from close range for his 16th league goal of the season.
And then it was a grandstand finish from the Reds who needed the winner.
Brown volleyed wide, Robbie Williams had a go but the defence were still tested with Paul Howarth having to clear one effort of the line and a Sills chip in the 93rd minute seemingly heading for the top corner of the net - but it was inches wide. In a last ditch effort, Holloway tried the same thing but it was well over and the Shots were content with a point to boost their play-off ambitions.
Boss Terry Brown said: "It was a massive point for us. We would have loved to have wrapped it up with three but that was an exciting game and probably a fair result.
"It was their last home game and they wanted to finish on a high. They have had a great year and they are a good side.
"They put us under a lot of pressure and started like a whirlwind. We showed a lot of character in coming back because they have battered Stevenage and Barnet here and we were aware of that."