IT is rare that a Lancashire derby passes without incident - but it had barely warmed up before the drama started on Tuesday.
In the past, the Morecambe/Stanley clashes have produced Ian Craney's wonder goal, three sendings off in one game, a Lee McEvilly late strike all of which have been talking points as the two teams have battled for local pride and the valuable three points.
But it took just four minutes for the events to overheat at Christie Park with the dismissal of left back Chris Butler.
It was Morecambe's first attack when Garry Thompson swept past Butler before the left back tracked back and brought him down on the edge of the area.
Whether Thompson was the last man was open to debate but the referee was having none of it and the way he rushed over to Butler left it in no doubt that the Stanley defender was going for an extremely early bath.
Reds manager John Coleman was fuming especially as the sending off and loss resulted in the end of their run of five straight wins.
"Their lads first touch had sent him away from goal, it was not a deliberate foul and there were three defenders closing in," said the Reds chief. "If that's a clean sending off then the ref could have made two or three more.
"The most blatant sending off of the night should have been Darran Kempson who, after being booked, volleyed the ball away. I thought kicking the ball away was a mandatory yellow - the rules must have changed."
The boss was furious but while it did leave the Reds a man short, you would have struggled to tell in the first half.
David Brown had a shot on target from the edge of the box, Gary Roberts had a good crossfield pass which Anthony Barry just couldn't get on the end of and Roberts fired a low shot into the side netting.
The saying of it being harder to play against 10-men seemed to come true for Morecambe as an expectant crowd were getting increasingly frustrated that their side weren't breaking through.
Carlton did beat the defence to set up dangerman Michael Twiss but Darren Randolph did well to block his effort.
But the home side finally gave their supporters some relief when Curtis evaded a tackle from Steve Jagielka in his own half and raced past Barry and set up Twiss. The striker was rushing into the area and the Shrimps top scorer finished well, hitting it first time low into the net beyond the diving Randolph.
But, while Morecambe were expected to press on, it was Stanley who then caused them problems.
Barry found Paul Mullin, who had a real battle with ex-Red Kempson, and his neat back flick sent Craney racing through but his fierce effort was touched wide by keeper Ryan Robinson.
Then Mullin did well on the left wing and sent a brilliant ball into the area but David Brown couldn't get his shot on target while Roberts' free kick tested Robinson but the keeper held on to the ball.
Morecambe did have chances to increase their lead with Carlton trying to flick a ball over Randolph but the keeper did well. And Curtis beat the off-side trap and raced through on goal but amazingly fired high and wide.
And then Morecambe were punished as they repeatedly gave away free kicks around their penalty area.
Most of the Stanley dead ball specialists had had a go but Ian Craney likes Morecambe following his wonder goal last season - and although he needed a slight deflection this time, his 20-yard free kick found the bottom corner of the net with two minutes of injury time on the clock.
Coleman approached the ref at the interval about Butler's red card but he was having none of it.
Meanwhile, the home side must have had a stern half-time team talk from Jim Harvey and they did come out after the break and piled the pressure on Stanley's make-shift back line.
Unmarked Carlton headed over before Curtis worked hard on the left wing, found Perkins in the area who headed the ball onto Twiss who whalloped the ball into the roof of the Stanley net to re-take the lead.
And they could have added to it when Carlton found Curtis but his shot was blocked on the line by the chest of Robbie Williams.
Coleman then changed things around putting on attackers Rommy Boco and Andy Mangan but the extra man was starting to tell for Morecambe.
They were furious when the ref blew for a foul on Carlton on the edge of area as, if the referee had played the advantage, Twiss had a free run on goal.
Mike Flynn then blocked a Curtis shot on the line while the defender took the ball off the winger's foot as he lined up to shoot minutes later.
And then the home side got the third when Thompson broke, had Randolph beaten but Flynn cleared off the line. However, it only fell to Carlton who pounced six yards out on 73 minutes.
Stanley have been used to nervy finale's as they have tried to hold onto the lead but this time they made it hard work for Morecambe.
This was especially as a Steve Jagielka free kick resulted in the referee pointing to the penalty spot for a foul by Jim Bentley on Mullin. Peter Cavanagh grabbed the ball and slotted it down the middle with the keeper diving to his left.
There were three minutes of added time but the Reds couldn't find a late equaliser they, on the balance of play, deserved.
"For long periods in the first half, we played them off the park," said Morecambe's former prolific striker Coleman.
"We made the better chances and, on another day, could have gone in 2-1 up. It was poor defending in the second half and a little bit of tiredness but we carried on. That is testament to how good a side we are that they were against 10 men for long periods and it was them who were howling for the final whistle with five minutes to go."