When Jimmy Ryan ran into Sammy McIlroy’s arms in the Morecambe dug-out in the second half chasing a ball, the Shrimps boss probably wished he could have kept him there.
But instead, the man who broke McIlroy’s heart last season with a late winner at the Crown Ground, did it again eight minutes from time to finally end Stanley’s away duck this season.
After 16 games without an away win – and one away league victory in the whole of 2010 – Stanley finally started 2011 in the way they mean to go on.
The Reds desperately needed a win after just one victory in nine games and, while it wasn’t Stanley’s best performance of the season after the weather had `played havoc with training and fixtures, the three points were vital as the relegation spots had got closer and closer over December.
Midfielder Ryan had struggled to find his shooting boots all game but he got the ball on the edge of the area, had a go and it did need a lucky deflection off Stewart Drummond to celebrate his winner – but they all count.
And it continued the Reds’ excellent record against the Shrimps – they have played them seven times in League Two with six wins and a draw and Morecambe’s last victory over John Coleman’s side was in 2005.
"I am made up," said the Reds boss. "We do seem to have a jinx over Morecambe and sometimes it happens like that. We have got it with Adam le Fondre who only has to look at us to score!
"But it was a battle as Morecambe are a good side. They have altered their style of play since I last saw them and they posed us quite a few problems but we defended well, certainly in the second half.
"Their keeper made a wonderful save from Terry Gornell and you think it will maybe peter out into a 1-1 draw but then we had a little bit of luck with a deflection for the goal.
"I think Jimmy’s had that many shots in the last three months that haven’t been on target that he was due one on target.
"Jimmy has got a good shot on him and, give him his due, he kept going until the end and deserved his goal.
"But Sammy McIlroy has a good side here who play good football in a lovely stadium and the future could be bright for them – and let’s hope the future is bright for us too."
McIlroy must wonder what he can do to break the Stanley hoodoo as Phil Edwards scored a double in the 2-0 win over the Shrimps in Stanley’s last game at Christie Park last season – and the defender did it again by tucking home a penalty on Saturday.
Morecambe could have few complaints when ex-Reds defender Kieran Charnock lunged in on Terry Gornell after a swift passing move by Stanley on 17 minutes.
Edwards has been calmness personified at penalties this season and he lashed home his sixth of the season.
"Phil has got into the groove with his penalties and slotted it away well," said Coleman.
The lead only lasted 10 minutes after Gornell flew into a challenge on Laurie Wilson and Craig Stanley’s free kick from the left found the head of Chris McCready, who had an easy task to equalise.
The game did get heated – Ian Craney and Craig Stanley used to be team-mates but it didn’t stop them squaring up to each other and having to be separated.
Coleman however was never worried that it could go further.
"Ian has magnificent enthusiasm and I thought he was the pick in the first half.
"In the second half, I think he tired as he hasn’t played a lot but, no disrespect to teams in this league, but when he is in top form he is too good for this league."
Craney was at the centre of a lot of the first-half moves but chances were limited for both sides – keeper Ian Dunbavin made his first save on 12 minutes from Scott Brown while Shrimps keeper Barry Roche didn’t have a lot to do until the 80th minute, when Gornell turned and fired at him in the area from six yards out.
There were half chances – Huddersfield loanee James Spencer wasted an opportunity for Morecambe as, with only Dunbavin to beat, he blasted over. And Joe Jacobson also tried his luck from 25 yards for the Reds near the end but it was just wide.
At 1-1 the game was delicately balanced and the Stanley fans must have worried that, as long as ex-Reds hero Paul Mullin was on the pitch, it seemed fate that he would, at some stage of his career, get a winner against Coleman’s side.
The veteran hitman – in his testimonial year for Accrington – had one chance at the near post, sliding in with Kevin Long, but otherwise, while working hard and flicking balls on, the Burnley loan defender kept Mullin quiet and he was subbed 15 minutes from time.
"It’s still hard to get used to Mullers on the opposite side," said Coleman. "But he is worth his weight in gold for any side for what he brings to the game.
"He might not get as many goals as he likes but he is a handful, he links up well and always gives 100 per cent.
"I know Terry Gornell learnt a lot from him when they played together here and if Terry has half the career Paul had in the last 10 years, then Terry will be doing well."
But Mullin was kept quiet – and the Morecambe supporters were also silenced by the Reds fans’ chant ‘you never win against us’ as Ryan made sure Stanley’s excellent run against the Shrimps continued.