ONE minute Jimmy Ryan’s shot is cannoning off the Shrewsbury crossbar and the next, Kenny Arthur is picking the ball out of the back of his net.
Such is the story of Stanley’s season so far.
Midfielder Ryan was just centimetres from drawing the Reds level and showing his former club what they are missing with a 30 yard thunderbolt in the 39th minute which hit the bar and bounced down on the goalline and out.
Then Nick Chadwick broke, Phil Edwards’ brought him down in the area and the Shrews prolific scorer Grant Holt sent Arthur the wrong way from the penalty spot.
It was then effectively game over on Tuesday night.
“If Jimmy’s shot goes in we are right back in it and that would have made it 1-1 at half-time and set it up,” said boss John Coleman. “30 seconds later and the ball is in the back of our net - that sums our night up. But I can’t have any complaints about the defeat.
“We did not hit the heights of the previous four of five games and did not pass the ball like we can, create enough shooting chances or defend properly and ultimately that cost us the game.”
Instead, although the promotion-chasing Shrews hardly peppered Arthur’s goal, they made the most of their limited chances and, at 2-0 by half-time, could sit back.
A Steve Leslie corner was headed home by unmarked defender Graham Coughlan in the 20th minute and, with Holt’s penalty, it was job done as Paul Simpson’s side looked to get back on track after defeat on Saturday.
Stanley, meanwhile, while again passing the ball around well and playing the pretty build-up play, lacked the killer touch.
Ryan’s effort on goal was the only real one of note in the first half and the next chances for the Reds didn’t come until loan striker Craig Lindfield helped Stanley launch an all-out attack on the Shrews goal in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Coleman admitted: “We didn’t hurt them enough and we conceded two really bad goals.
“I was disappointed to concede from a set piece again and then Phil makes only three or four mistakes a season and always seems to be punished for them.”
Defender Edwards, returning to centre back as Leam Richardson came in at right back, has given away three penalties this campaign and all have found their way into the goal.
But as well as the goals, Stanley also had to reshuffle, losing midfielder Andy Procter to an Achilles injury in the first half and frontman John Miles dropped into centre midfield.
“We did become disjointed and it didn’t help losing Procky. We lacked a holding player in midfield,” continued the Reds boss.
“But we never got to the stage where we were creating opportunities for shooting and the final ball wasn’t the best. Our wide players got dragged in and we became narrow. This led us to be exposed down the sides and were punished for it.
“The positive though is that there is a great deal of belief in the side but we don’t seem to get the rub of the green.”
The Reds did start with a mission but neither goalkeepers were in action in the opening 20 minutes.
Then the Shrews forced a corner and it was suddenly 1-0 and that lifted the 4134 crowd - with just 28 from Accrington.
Ryan wanted to turn on the style against his old club and shot wide from distance while Miles fired over in one move and an overhead kick into keeper Luke Daniels’ arms from another.
John Paul Kissock was playing the second game of his loan spell from Everton but didn’t see the ball as much as he would have liked while Chris Turner, who came on for Procter on the right wing, made some runs and crosses but was also dragged inside as the Reds went on the hunt for the ball.
Then came the deciding moment when Ryan’s strike crashed against the crossbar and Chris Humphrey found frontman Chadwick who charged forward, got on the wrong side of Edwards and he was brought down in the area.
“Perhaps Phil shouldn’t have tackled and let the lad shoot as Kenny was there but that’s with hindsight,” said Coleman.
Their 21-goal striker Holt sent Arthur the wrong way with a low penalty and worse could have come when Humphrey got the better of Chris King on the wing and played in a low cross. Holt was unmarked two yards out but unbelievably the ball got stuck under his foot and rolled wide.
It was the miss of the season but at least it gave the 28 fans behind the goal something to smile about!
Stanley came out in the second half and the introduction of Lindfield did make a difference as the vistors went to 4-4-2 and the Liverpool loanee caused problems and showed awareness.
This is especially so in the last 10 minutes when he ran through one-on-one and jumped over outrushing keeper Daniels who caught him but Lindfield kept his balance and tried to shoot but the defence had got back.
“He was perhaps too honest that he stayed on his feet but that is to be commended in this day and age,” said Coleman.
And Lindfield had another effort blocked as Stanley launched a series of last ditch attacks - but were still thwarted.
“A big positive is that we kept going until the end and, if we had got one back, you never know. And the performance of Craig makes sure I have some selection headaches now,” added Coleman.