Ian Craney knows there is a lot of hard work to do if he is to live up to his manager’s accolade as ‘the best player in League Two’ – but he is prepared to do it.
Sub Craney scored the 84th goal that looked the winner at the Priestfield Stadium in his 200th appearance for the club on Saturday.
But Gillingham went straight down the other end, won a penalty and Luke Rooney equalised to leave the Reds still looking for that first win on their travels since February.
Stanley boss John Coleman has signed Craney three times and rates the midfielder highly.
But the 29-year-old is the first to admit he has been hit and miss this season which means he hasn’t been a guaranteed starter.
"I have got to get to my peak again which I felt I did last season fitness-wise," said Craney.
"It is up to me to get going but I have had a number of niggling injuries which have stopped me and that’s been frustrating.
"I am trying my hardest to get back to where I was and I know that means a lot of extra work but also getting myself mentally strong, ready for the hard work. Hopefully that goal will spur me on and my season starts here.
"I need to get to my maximum and then I agree with the gaffer, I will be one of the best players in League Two."
Coleman made that compliment after the match at Priestfield but he also knows it’s down to the midfielder to be prepared to put in the extra hours on the training pitch to live up to it.
"It was a great finish by Ian but there is never any doubt that he can do that," said Coleman. "He needs though to get himself fitter to do himself justice over the full 90 minutes.
"There is no quick fix, he has to work hard.¿It is a work in progress and it won’t happen overnight. Ian has got to be dedicated to do that. When he is, we shall see the Ian Craney that everyone knows and then he is probably the best player in League Two."
Craney did make a difference when he came on.
Up to that point, keeper Sean Murdoch had denied Charlie Lee, pushing away his fierce effort while Kevin McIntyre’s blast, after a flowing move, was pushed away by Ross Flitney before the break.
Coleman admitted there were ‘harsh’ words at half-time.
"Although the players had worked hard, they hadn’t shown enough hunger to win it and I felt they sat back too much. Instead, afer the break, they went for it, they took the game to Gillingham and we could have scored more than one goal."
Dean Winnard had a free header straight into Flitney’s arms while Craney set up fellow sub Louis Moult but, with the goal at his mercy, he rushed his shot on his wrong foot and it went narrowly wide.
It looked like that was the best chance gone until Peter Murphy showed persisitence to win the ball outside the area.
He flicked it to Craney who finished well, despite Flitney getting a hand to it.
"I was over the moon to be honest," said Craney for his first league goal of the season.
"I set off running and if Kevin¿Long hadn’t stopped me I have no idea where I would have ended up. It was such a high then, 30 seconds later, it was such a low."
From the kick off, Gillingham went straight down the other end and, despite McIntyre seemingly fouled in the build-up, striker Moult was clumsy in challenging Danny Kedwell with the ref pointing to the penalty spot.
There was a four-minute delay while the Gills man had treatment and, after missing a penalty last week, Rooney wasn’t their regular taker.
But this time they had luck on their side as Murdoch guessed the right way but the spot kick hit the inside of the post and went in.
"We are all gutted," said Craney. "It’s so frustrating but it shows how far we have come that we are disappointed with a point – not many teams will win here."
And Coleman echoed this: "I remember coming here four or five years ago, maybe the year Gillingham got promoted, and they murdered us 1-0. It was a 1-0 thrashing.
"Now we are here disappointed with a point and believing we are equal if not better than them. That’s a measure of how far we have come.
"It does though seem forever since we won away and we won’t get a better chance than we did here.
"Our keeper has hardly had anything to do and we limited them and then to concede so late, is disappointing – even though we felt it was a foul on Kevin in the build-up, but that seemed to be the story of the second half."
Coleman was also frustrated that, for a foul on Andy¿Procter by Danny Jackman, the midfielder was only shown a yellow as it happened right in front of the Stanley dug-out.
"I also felt they should have been down to ten men as he could have broke our lad’s leg," added Coleman.
"But, at the end of the day, we have got to take the positives that we have got stronger that the game has gone on and we are disappointed with a point here. Our players believe in themselves."
And Craney will be determined to make sure that he repays the manager’s faith.