BEFORE the season started, John Coleman was confident his new-look side would get off to a flyer with six points from their first two Conference games.
But the Accrington Stanley boss would never have expected both wins to be on such a knife edge.
Against Canvey on Saturday, the manager was first to point out that his side had rode their luck.
And it was deja vue on Tuesday night as he admitted league newcomers Altrincham would have felt robbed by the Reds.
But while he is disappointed performances aren't up to scratch, no one can complain at the early table as the Reds are one of the pacesetters.
Six points, no goals conceded and, despite jangling nerves with two close victories, other teams will look at Stanley as a strong force to be reckoned with this season.
But, on the other side of the coin, the two narrow victories against two part-time teams shows how close the league could be this season - and that the title race may be wide open.
"We know we won't always get away with these kind of performances," said Coleman, after an 85th minute, somewhat controversial Michael Welch goal gave the Reds their second league victory at Moss Road. "We can play a lot better than that. We have played a lot better than that and have not won so you have got to be happy with a win.
"We will take the three points as a bonus out of that performance but we have to be careful we don't get blase about it and we do not keep putting in those performances.
"I am not criticising the players but we need to be stronger and tighter defensively than that. We have got to take that win for what it was, watch the video and learn what we can do better. But, make no bones about it, Altrincham shouldn't have lost that game."
Stanley last faced the Manchester side in the UniBond League in April 2003 when the Reds celebrated promotion to the Conference.
But the celebrations after Tuesday's game were more of relief than joy as Alty gave the Reds their second stern test in four days.
Coleman stuck with the same starting line-up who had battled to a win against Canvey on Saturday with Ian Craney desperate to put on a strong performance on his return to the club he left to join the Reds.
And they came out all guns blazing with Stanley's best early chance a similar one to the Wigan goal scored against them in pre-season when a Leam Richardson long throw was hit on the turn my Andy Magnan but it whistled inches wide.
One chance gone but a comfortable game seemed on the cards judging by the Reds' start
However, most people who have followed Stanley in the last few seasons know an easy win is a rarity in the Conference and there were a few scares from the home side which were a sign of things to come.
Left winger Colin Potts was a threat and former Red Gary William showed in parts some moves which had once dazzled the Stanley crowds, and earned him a big money move to Doncaster, as his pace troubled the visiting back line.
But it was his Stanley counterpart Paul Mullin who thought he had got the Reds off to a flyer and bagged his first of the season on 17 minutes only to see the off-side flag go up.
And his strike partner Andy Mangan thought he had done the same 10 minutes later only for the assistant's flag to be raised once again.
While the Reds were unlucky with these, Alty found their feet and Gary Williams broke and beat Robbie Williams to get in a fierce shot which Stuart Jones did well to parry away.
And then they had a lucky espcape when ex-Stanley player Lewis Chalmers's ball in found the dangerous ex-Crewe man Colin Little at the far post and his shot look destined for the back of the net - but hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced out on 36 minutes.
And the manager was again on a tenterhooks when Potts turned and shot at the near post with Jones having to act quickly to push out the effort with the rebound fired wide of goal just before the break.
The Stanley players must have got a rollicking at half-time and Coleman brought on captain Peter Cavanagh to see if he could keep out the Potts threat.
The game continued to flow from end to end with Craney and Cavanagh coming close while a Gary Roberts' deflected cross found Mangan but his header was into the keepers arms.
But Little continued to prove a thorn in Stanley's side as he had three good chances after the break.
One free kick from 18 yards wasdeflected inches wide of Jones' goal while the experienced frontman then beat the off-side trap - although Coleman disagreed - only to finish weakly and Jones was glad to see the ball in his arms.
And Little then raced to the by-line, caught Jones out of position and crossed into the area with the goal unguarded but Robbie Williams hooked the effort clear.
The first goal was always going to be the winner and it came, rather fortunately for Stanley five minutes from time.
A Mike Flynn long throw was flicked on by towering defender Welch.
Alty were appealing for a Welch foul on his marker but his header looped goalwards. The keeper Stuart Coburn was backtracking as he tried to keep the ball out but Matt 0'Neill charged towards it and somehow the ball ended up in the back of the net.
There were a few seconds of bated breath while the teams looked at the ref to see if he had given it and his whistle blew and the celebrations started with Welch given the goal, O'Neill claiming it, a keeper own goal suggested, but Coleman didn't care.
"I was just relieved it went in the net," said Coleman. "It was either Welchy's or an own goal. Matt O'Neill laid a claim to it but it wasn't his. Mind you, I would try and claim it if I was him!
"I don't think it was a foul on the keeper by Matt. If there was a foul, it would have been a nudge by Welchy for the header but I don't think it was a foul."
To their credit Alty never let their heads go down and they could have still clinched a draw when Little's shot was pushed out along the floor by Jones and, with a bit more pace, could have ended up in the back of the net but the keeper recovered to smother the ball.
There were three agonising minutes of injury time played but it was Stanley who could have put the game out of reach when a Mangan cross just couldn't reach the in-rushing Mullin at the far post.
"We started off well but got disjointed with players drifting out of position to try and influence the game and consequentley that gave Altrincham a foot hold into the game," added Coleman.
"If they continue to play like that they won't have any problems this year and it will be a problem for other teams to come here.
"But we need to improve on that and we will improve on that."