FOOTBALL fans have been criticised for often seeing their side through rose-tinted glasses.
Every foul against their team isn’t one; the referee never makes the right decision and their side should have won any game no matter what.
But the majority of Rotherham fans cannot be classed in that bracket.
The Millers are widely tipped to be table toppers come May while Stanley are the bookies favourites to be back in non-league next season.
But it needed a last gasp Paul Warne goal to separate the sides with Millers keeper Andy Warrington deservedly the man of the match for repeatedly keeping out the Reds.
And the Millers faithful certainly weren't fooled by the result.
"Just call us Dick Turpin," said one.
"If we are really favourites for promotion and them for relegation there is something wrong as they (Stanley) looked better than us," said another.
"We did not deserve that," claimed another, shaking his head as he left the Don Valley Stadium.
And that was something John Coleman was doing as his side slipped to their third defeat out of four opening day fixtures back in the Football League.
And it was a harsh result on the Reds. Not only did the visitors boss the first half, but long-servant Warrington had to be in tip-top condition for the opening day of the season as he acrobatically kept out two good Jimmy Ryan and Bobby Grant attempts.
Rotherham did get back into it after the break with the introduction of veteran Warne for the ineffective striker Ryan Taylor but still didn’t deserve to take all three points.
But they did when, in the final minute of normal time, a ball bobbled around the area with Ian Sharps hitting the underside of the crossbar before unmarked Warne pounced to fire past the stranded Alan Martin.
"I think they are amazed they won the game," said a bewildered Coleman. "But we have got to defend for 90 minutes and we defended magnificently for 87 but got sloppy towards the end.
"You wouldn’t have thought they are favourite for promotion and us for relegation and we have got to take the positives and take heart from that performance if not be upset with the result."
Coleman has been "banging his drum" about his strong squad this season and he handed Stanley debuts to Luke Joyce in midfield, Dean Winnard at right back, centre half Darran Kempson, striker Billy Kee and goalkeeper Alan Martin - with the last two making their league debuts.
And they gelled immediately playing their neat passing football with Grant and captain-for-the-day John Miles causing problems for the Millers’ tall defence.
Warrington kept out a Ryan free kick which he saw late, Grant forced a good two-handed save from the keeper, Paul Mullin had a few chances, Bill Kee headed over and Miles tried his luck from distance.
Stanley passed the ball around with freedom and found time and space on the ball which, against the promotion chasers, they wouldn't have expected.
This was despite referee Danny McDermid who seemed to have his whistle permanently in his mouth and made it stop-start for both sides and did seem to make some bizarre decisions.
Jimmy Ryan, though, had the best chance for the Reds immediately after the break. Pablo Mills was caught out as he failed to clear a ball in the area and it fell to Stanley midfielder who was one-on-one with Warrington.
However, the keeper rushed out and blocked the effort much to Coleman's frustration.
He said: "Jimmy snatched at that and he is better than that. If he had that chance again there are three or four different things he could have done other than what he did and then we would have won the game 1-0."
While Rotherham’s goal did lead a charmed life the Millers did have their moments.
Kempson looked to have tugged Taylor in the area but the referee gave a free kick while, on the stroke of half-time, Pope’s ball in stuck between Taylor's legs in the six yard box.
As the home side got on top after the break, Joyce had to head a Nick Fenton header off the line, right winger Nicky Law played a dangerous ball across the box and Martin made his wonder save from Warne.
Still it seemed Stanley would hold on for a deserved point but then Coleman put on Michael Symes and Chris Turner – and he admitted the decision might have cost the Reds.
"We were the better team and we looked comfortable but then it seems the curse of the sub again," said Coleman,
"I don’t know what it is as we tend to concede as soon as we make a sub. I don't know if it is a lack of concentration or a jinx but it ends up that I am reluctant to make a sub."
The heart-breaking goal followed.
"Darran has had a chance to clear it and he hasn't. If he had we would have seen the game out," added Coleman.
"It certainly changed the referee's mind as to how much time he had to add on and it wouldn't have been three minutes if they hadn't scored.
"There was four subs before we made a third one, four stoppages including a head injury and a goal celebration and he decided only three minutes. You can try and blame the ref and hide behind your own inadequancies but the referee should take a look at himself.
"But it was one that got away from us and we haven’t to be too despondent."