THE difference in the dug-outs couldn't have been more stark in the final minutes of Saturday's derby clash.
Rochdale's new boss Keith Hill was laughing and joking, taking off star striker Glenn Murray for his own standing ovation, safe in the knowledge his side had moved 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
Stanley manager John Coleman, meanwhile, stood there with his arms folded, frowning as he contemplated his side's 13th defeat in 21 league games and a disastrous display which keeps them fearing for their League Two lives.
The Reds were praised for their fight and passion against Lincoln the previous Saturday but there was none of it on offer at Spotland with a collapse which meant the game was over by half-time.
Every time the Reds have looked like they will go on and finally break away from the bottom few - with their wins over Wrexham and Barnet and the battling draw with Lincoln - instead the next game has been a disappointment.
And there was little to take from a Spotland outfit who, not so long ago were struggling with the Reds, but who have now under Hill almost guaranteed their survival.
Stanley, meanwhile, are once again contemplating the worst possible scenario - becoming the first club to make an instant return to the Conference and Coleman knows he needs to act and act swiftly.
"I am devastated," he said. "In the eight years I have been manager here and the ten years I have been in management, no team of mine has played that badly in the first half
"We looked like we had no idea about football or defending. It was shambolic. People will point the finger at me for coaching and organisation but you could be the best manager with the best coaches in the world, but if the players are not going to follow instructions, then you are going to be struggling."
The bewildered Reds boss continued: "We showed a lack of ability, lack of awareness and lack of basic football skills.Some of the stuff out there you wouldn't get from 11-year-olds and I have honestly been in Sunday League sides who are better organised.
"Rochdale have had to do absolutely nothing to get three goals - we gifted them two from our corners and we can't keep defending like that. We have the ability in the squad to win games and come here and compete with Rochdale.
"They were the better side on the day but it doesn't mean Rochdale are a better side than us. I will stick my life on it that they are not a better side than us, but if we keep playing like that they will beat us."
And it was a stroll in the park for Hill's side who were three goals up inside 32 minutes and raced through the Reds' defence like they didn't exist.
Coleman had made changes with defender Robbie Williams suspended and Michael Welch and Phil Edwards were in the centre of defence with captain Peter Cavanagh playing his first game since a knee injury in November and Alan Rogers getting the nod in the left back role.
It could have gone either way early on but winger Ben Muirhead showed what an early threat he was with Rogers entering the referee's notebook on 10 minutes as he struggled to contain the wideman.
And there certainly didn't look any cause for concern five minutes later when Stanley forced a corner.
But the Reds failed to capitalise on it and Muirhead broke down the right wing, everyone was caught out of position and he whisked a cross in which Welch, Adam Le Fondre and keeper Przemyslaw Kazimierczak went for and it fell nicely for Adam Randall to easily slot home.
Ten minutes later and Stanley's derby day was turning into a nightmare when one-time Reds target Murray had an easy header from Muirhead's free kick.
Stanley were still reeling when it was suddenly three. Another corner for the Reds was wasted and another of Coleman's former targets, Dave Perkins, picked up the ball in his own penalty area.
He raced almost the length of the pitch, passed to Le Fondre on the by-line and he pulled it back for the easiest of tap-ins for Murray.
The Reds were shell-shocked and Coleman was unable to believe what was unfolding in front of his eyes. He said: "Dave Perkins is a good player but he is no Ronaldhino and for him to be allowed to run 80 yards of the pitch is shambolic defending.
"We spent probably 25 minutes in training on Friday covering when we are attacking - and they have scored from our two corners.
"For it to all go out of the window is devastaing. You can't leave your back door opened or else you get burgled."
Dale were now in full flow while the Reds were struggling to string two passes together. Rommy Boco was having little joy up front, Tony Grant struggled in midfield and the two wideman - Shaun Whalley and Andy Todd - were unable to get on the ball.
And, just when Coleman thought it couldn't get much worse, Welch brought down Rundle in the area on 35 minutes and referee Rob Stonebridge - who already had four players in his notebook at this stage including the centre half - pointed to the penalty spot.
Murray and Le Fondre tend to share the penalty duties but, with former Carlisle striker Murray on two, he was going for his hat-trick.
However Stanley's on-loan shot-stopper Kazimierczak managed to salvage a bit of pride by pulling off a stunning save and then jumping on the ball at the second attempt.
Then, just before half-time, a free kick routine summed up Stanley's day. It looked like it was to be intricately worked between Whalley and Rogers but both almost left it for each other and then the winger aimed to pass to the defender and it ran out of play for a goalkick - it was chaos all over.
All the Stanley faithful were stunned and Coleman had to change it at half-time. Off came Rogers - who was running the risk of getting sent off by the Derbyshire official - and Grant with Andy Mangan and Leam Richardson entering he fray.
It didn't immediately make any difference with Kazimierczak diving low to keep out a Rory McArdle header and Le Fondre scored but it was ruled off-side.
The numerous Stanley fans tried to keep the tempo up with "attack, attack" while banging the drum and they finally had something to raise a slight smile about on 70 minutes.
Whalley's ball in was flicked on by ex-Morecambe man Perkins and Paul Mullin, coming in at the far post, headed home his 13th goal of the season.
Then one decision could have set up an unexpected grandstand finish on 77 minutes when Perkins seemed to handle a Whalley corner in the area - but the referee didn't agree.
And, to add to Coleman's fury at the officials, three minutes later Welch upended Murray on the edge of the area. Everyone was waiting for a free kick but the referee pointed to the spot for a second time and Le Fondre made no mistake.
There was still time for Mangan to make the score more respectable, Welch's header sending the striker through and he finished well - but it was too little too late as the three points had long since gone.
"We were marginally better in the second half but they were coasting," said Coleman."Glenn Murray is a good player which is why we tried to sign him. They tend to come back and bite you on your backside.
"We were bad but that was compounded by some of the decisions which baffled me.
"However, the officials are the least of our worries - if we play like that again we are in big trouble."