Leam Richardson admitted that moments like Saturday made all the dark days of his battle against injury worthwhile.
The 31-year-old was an unlikely Reds hero as he volleyed home the winning goal in the last minute at Cheltenham – his last goal was February 2008 although he was quick to point out he still holds the record for Garforth Boys team with 62 goals in a season.
But, joking aside, after around 18 months of battling through a hip injury which specialists struggled to diagnose until he finally had an operation to hopefully cure it, to hit that winning goal was sweet.
"I quit football about five times and even my wife told me to call it a day because I wasn’t happy," said the former Blackburn and Bolton defender who sat out almost all of last season.
"I am all about enjoying football and if I don’t enjoy it, I don’t like it.
"My game is all about fitness and getting in and around and up and down and, if I can’t do that, it’s not me and I almost retired at the end of last season.
"I saw a few specialists and had an operation and you get passed from pillar to post. We are not the biggest club with the biggest facilities but thankfully, I was lucky to get help elsewhere and the rehab is going okay.¿Touch wood, I am able to play my part at times.
"I think if I had been at any other club I would have given up but the gaffer, Jimmy Bell and the lads, massively, all helped me as I was ready to call it a day.
"I just enjoy it now. I don’t take it for granted as perhaps I did in the past so I’m trying to give that to the young lads and it’s paying off as they come to me for advice.
"I enjoyed the goal though – Andy Procter came up to me and said ‘that goal made up for the rehab and all those months out’ – and he was right, it did. Moments like that make it all worthwhile."
And Richardson was quick to say he had to find the back of the net with that volley or else he would have got some stick.
Time was ticking on and it looked like it would be another away draw for Stanley but the Robins failed to clear a ball on their left and the ball bounced to substitute Richardson on the edge of the area who nodded it down and belted it – and don’t mention that it might have taken a deflection.
"Watch it in real time not slow motion – that’s how to watch my goal!" he said. "But I has to score as Rory Boulding was first to me as I was celebrating and he was pulling my hair asking why I didn’t square to him.
"So I was just glad it went in or I would have got it in the neck if I’d missed. I might not have scored many but they are always good goals!"
Reds boss John Coleman was celebrating back-to-back wins for the first time this season and, after one league away win through 2010, they have now got two early in 2011.
And the Reds chief was as happy as anyone that it was defender-turned-midfielder Richardson who was the goal machine.
"We practised volleying during the week and it was the worst display of volleying I have ever seen in my life," said Coleman. "Thankfully Leam saved his for Saturday and it was a fantastic finish.
"Leam is a very good professional, the way he conducts himself is a credit to himself. He is a great ambassador for the club and a great role model for the younger players.
"He kept himself fit even though he was blighted by that terrible injury and he has worked his socks off to overcome it. It might have finished a lot of people with lesser characters off and it might have finished his career.
"But he was adamant he wanted to carry on and soldiered on through a lot of pain and frustration and a lot of time when he couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel and there were a lot of dark days.
"But Leam is a valuable member of the squad. He hasn’t scored for a while but he is a great character around the dressing room. He is only little but when he is on the pitch he stands 10 foot tall!"
The headlines belonged to Richardson but it was a real team show.
Robins frontmen Wes Thomas and Jeff Goulding looked a threat early on with their pace and height but the Stanley back men managed to contain them.
And the Reds found their feet and deserved the opener when Jimmy Ryan found Sean McConville on the right, who crossed the ball first time for Terry Gornell to thread it between the keeper’s legs.
That was Gornell’s eighth goal of the season and he deserved it for what was a superb show from the lone striker, which had Coleman singing his praises.
"I think Terry Gornell is fast becoming the best striker in the league," he mused. "If a centre forward goes through a spell where he hasn’t scored for a long time, if they stay in the team, then they must be doing something right.
"His work-rate and hold-up play are magnificent and he has got stronger since he’s come back to us a second time.
"His willingness to work, to run the channels, he is a handful for defenders, he is intelligent with his link-up play and he has got a bright future ahead of him as he’s still young enough to have a great career in the game.
"He is still looking to improve his game and he is still learning and we chat to him about it and he takes it on board.
"He deserves his goals."
The Reds could have had more in a match of limited chances but efforts were blocked and a couple fell to loan defender Kevin Long who saw one charged down and the other sail wide as he looked for his first league goal.
The play-off chasing Robins struggled to test Ian Dunbavin until seven minutes from time when their top scorer Thomas turned Sean Hessey in the area – on for the injured Long – and fired home.
Cheltenham then upped the pace and there was a fear that Stanley could collapse – as they have in the past.
But instead Richardson popped up with the winner and had Stanley fans quickly experiencing another happy trip home after a dearth in 2010.
Coleman added: "In games gone by, when we have led for so long, we normally buckle but we had a meeting after Chesterfield about seeing games out and being professional and we showed it. It also shows the spirit in the camp to come back and get another goal.
"It’s a great win but we know, if we can apply ourselve,s we are a match for anyone in this league and Cheltenham will be up there at the end of the season so why can’t we?"