Saturday was a day of mixed emotions for Stanley striker Rory Boulding. In a rare start replacing the injured Terry Gornell, the 22-year-old struck home his second goal of the campaign.
But a point at the Recreation Ground was frustrating as an overfussy referee in Kent official Phil Crossley left the Reds rueing two points that got away – which could prove costly in the play-off push.
Mr Crossley was frustrating for both sides, although it was the Reds who came off worse with three yellow cards and a certain penalty call ignored which could have led to the winner.
Boulding was at the centre of this, tussling with Shots scorer Darren Jones for a ball forward and getting the better of him before the defender clipped his heels.
But the ref waved play on and that left the travelling 99 fans, along with the Stanley staff, bemused and frustrated and praying it doesn’t prove vital come May.
"It was a stonewall penalty, there is no other way to explain it, " said Boulding.
"I have come across him and am about to have a shot and he has clipped my heel and there is nothing I can do.
"I have gone down and it should have been a penalty and a red card.
"You can’t say a lot about referees but there were a few incidents."
Boulding though was happy to get on the scoresheet after filling the big boots of Gornell, out after having stitches below his knee during the week.
Defender Sean Hessey charged through from the half way line, and laid the ball off for Sean McConville who had the vision to set up Boulding and he slotted home on 17 minutes.
"It was a great ball from Sean and then it was just instinct. I just turned and hit it and it found the bottom corner. I was delighted to see it go in.
"I know all the lads were disappointed Terry wasn’t playing but all I can do is go out and do my best in his place and that’s what I tried to do.
"For our play-off ambitions this is a disappointing result as they didn’t really have a lot of an attacking threat and you could only see them scoring from a set-piece and they did."
The Reds dominated the first half and could have had more than their one goal with Jimmy Ryan showing quick feet to blast in a shot which hit the post.
Things did get heated with Shots’ midfielder Luke Gutteridge at the centre of clashes with Ryan and McConville and it meant the game got niggly with Mr Crossley starting and stopping it, much to the frustration of everyone.
The Shots, who had faint play-off hopes of their own, barely mustered an attack until seven minutes after the restart.
Anthony Straker’s free kick from the right was headed into the net by inrushing defender Jones, scoring his first goal for the hosts.
Then the game could have gone either way. Shots skipper Jamie Young pulled off a superb double save from Ian Craney and Ryan, not to mention Stanley’s unsuccessful penalty appeal.
McConville tried to chip Young, who was caught in two minds but couldn’t find the target, while Reds’ stopper Alex Cisak required treatment after Gutteridge went in late on him.
Home substitute Jermain McGlashan was lively on the wing and the Shots did threaten a winner with five minutes left but Gutteridge was inches wide after being given time to take the ball down.
The Stanley camp would have been thoroughly deflated by a loss but, as it was, a draw was hard enough to take, the Reds’ 11th on the road.
Manager John Coleman was furious after the game with the referee’s show.
"That’s two points thrown away, possibly, not even thrown away but snatched away. I fell out of love with football on Saturday with all the decisions that went against us.
"I know it is easy to blame the referee, it’s something that I have tried to avoid all season but the amount of decisions that were given against us that were unjust defied belief, culminating in a stonewall penalty.
"You work hard all week, you work on your pattern of play, your formation and you stick to it, to the letter of the law, and then people who are outside your infuence don’t do their job.
"It is hard to take and, without being controversial, you shouldn’t have so many decisions going against you. So many unjust decisions shouldn’t go against you.
"I always say the man on the pitch who makes the least mistakes is the referee but today I would have to question that."
Coleman will be hoping Mr Crossley’s show doesn’t have any bearing on the Reds’ top seven chances come the end of the season.