It was a tale of two managers at the Crown Ground on Saturday.
First there was Vale boss Jim Gannon, who never achieved popular status at Vale Park and parted company with the club on Monday after 15 games in the job.
The former Stockport and Peterborough boss couldn’t possibly have lasted any longer in charge at Vale after the unsavoury Crown Ground scenes, where the visiting fans were calling for Gannon’s resignation.
He couldn’t head towards the dressing room after the game for fear of the thousand travelling supporters desperate to get near him and had to be escorted into the director’s lounge until the barracking fans had left, some two hours after the final whistle.
The Vale players also needed an escort to get out of the ground and loan defender Exodus Geohaghon had to be pulled back by his team-mates after his own fans goaded him.
Stanley boss John Coleman admitted: "You don’t want to see anybody treated the way Jim and the players were treated today."
And then there is Coleman – himself linked with the new Valiants vacancy – who has the Freedom of Accrington after leading them back into the Football League and is revered at the Crown Ground after 11 years and three promotions.
While Gannon’s unfortunate reign had seen him take Vale down and out of the top seven for the first time this season, Stanley are heading upwards and Coleman, whose name was chanted by fans for the right reason, might yet achieve another miracle.
The Reds are on the verge of the play-offs, their fate is in their hands and five wins on the run at the Crown Ground have got everyone daring to dream that League One is a strong possiblity.
The staff at Stanley have had to put up with boardroom unrest and chaos off the field, and late wages, but it has not affected the set of players who could go down in the history books as one of the greatest Stanley teams if they seal a top-seven place come May.
Coleman is not one to shy away from what he thinks and while others may talk about taking it a game at a time, he says it as he is.
"We know where we want to be. It’s no secret," he said. "I know people don’t mention the ‘P’ words, promotion or play-offs, but we do because that’s where we want to be.
"There’s no point ignoring it. It’s what we’re trying to achieve but we’ll only do it if we win a lot of games and that’s what we’re trying to do."
Perhaps it wasn’t the best Reds performance but Vale had done a double over Stanley this season in the league and FA¿Cup and had occupied the top spot and an automatic promotion place all season – until Saturday night.
Under Gannon’s predecessor Micky Adams, they had a team who were one of the favourites to go up but Gannon has been unable to follow Adams’ lead as his tenure was marred throughout by tales of boardroom, backroom and dressing room unrest and just four wins in those 15 games.
Still, they had an impressive squad on paper, including Peterborough defender Geohaghon, who Coleman had reportedly been interested in bringing in on loan, and John McCombe, another one that the Reds boss chased for a while.
Then there is prolific scorer Marc Richards, fellow striker Justin Richards, who was surprisingly on the bench, and rated winger Rob Taylor.
But, while they did pass the ball around well, in truth Alex Cisak didn’t have much to do except deal with crosses, which he did well.
Stanley, on the other hand, always looked a goal threat and deserved their opener two minutes before the break when a cheeky backheel by Ian Craney set up Sean McConville for his 10th goal of the season.
Even this one goal seemed enough but the Reds managed to make it look a thumping with two goals in six minutes at the end after Sean Rigg was sent off for an elbow on Phil Edwards 10 minutes from time.
First, on 84 minutes, Craney picked up a ball which had looped to him on the penalty spot and he seemed to take an age to control and hit it, but he did the business, beating Stuart Tomlinson.
And then a Terry Gornell free kick in injury time was pushed out by Tomlinson but right into the path of captain Andy Procter who made it two goals in two games. Coleman admitted: "We didn’t play as well as we can do. The pitch dictated that, but we kept on going and kept on trying to play.
"If I’m honest I think 3-0 flattered us because they had a right good go at us in the second half and pinned us back.
"But my players have shown a great deal of character in the last couple of weeks.
"They worked hard again and we kept on pressing.
"The first goal was great awareness by Ian Craney in the box with the backheel and a great finish.
"Sean’s been doing that all season, he’s always looked a threat and should probably have more goals.
"Then I think the sending off has contributed to the margin of the scoreline. I don’t think we were three goals better than Port Vale.
"But Craney’s was a fantastic finish. A lot of people would have snatched at that on the volley but he had the awareness to bring it down with a great bit of control and the coolness to finish.
"It certainly took the pressure off us as we didn’t want to have a nervy last five minutes.
"And then, for the third goal, Terry hit the free kick well and Proc has been there to put the rebound in."
It was a massive win for the Reds and now, for the manager’s target, it was five victories needed in their final 11 matches to boost Coleman’s lofty standing even more.