STANLEY boss John Coleman admits his side are something of an enigma to him.
He is stunned that they can be so bad – as they were in the first half against Oldham in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on Tuesday night – when they should have been down and out.
But then, after just a 15 minute break, they were so good leaving the League One side floored, scoring two goals and securing a place in the second round of the competition.
"It's the worst and the best of us and you get either one or the other at the moment," said Coleman. "Just when you think you have cracked 'The Da Vinci Code' – they then give you 'Angels and Demons'."
Dan Brown's next novel is "The Lost Symbol" and Coleman will be hoping he isn't searching too long and that Stanley's now make the right moves on the field.
Coleman continued: "The first half as poor and the first 20 minutes where as bad as I have seen us.
"Then I think the whole team owe Luke Joyce an apology. He came off but it wasn't his fault that we were like that in the first half and then, we made a change, and suddenly the other 10 were playing like Tasmanian devils."
The game could have been out of Stanley's reach by the time the half-time whistle blew. Oldham, who fielded a strong side, were so on top it was painful and it seemed a matter of how many they would score.
Danny Whitaker was a constant threat on the left wing and it was he who rifled in the opener after a throw in caught Stanley out, Pawel Abbott whipped in a cross and Whitaker thumped the ball into the net giving Ian Dunbavin – in for Alan Martin who is on Scottish international duty – no chance.
The Reds are no strangers to going behind and have failed to recover in their league campaign.
And it could have been worse with Dunbavin rushing out 40 yards as Whitaker charged onto the ball but Phil Edwards and Darran kempson got back to spare his blushes.
Blackburn Rover loan man Nick Blackman fired wide from 20 yards while Whitaker had a fierce drive headed off the line by Edwards on the stroke of half-time.
The Latics were dominating possession and were fully in charge of the game with loanee Tom Lees, playing at right back before switching to centre back, getting a rude introduction to his Accrington Stanley life after signing on loan from Leeds.
Coleman admitted there was some shouting at half-time and he did need to shock his side into life as Oldham keeper Dean Brill had been a spectator.
"There was a lot of shouting at half-time," said the Reds boss. "They have got a standard to set and it shouldn't take me and Jimmy (Bell) to bawl and shout to make them play better. They should be man enough to do that to each other.
"At one point in the first half I feared it could have been five or six so we were lucky to come in at half time only one-nil down."
he brought on Jimmy Ryan and the Reds did suddenly decide they wanted to play.
Midfielder Ryan tested Brill for the first time with a thunderbolt which the keeper turned over and then two goals in seven minutes turned the game.
Michael Symes put a dangerous low cross into the box and, with Andy Procter pressing, ex-Preston defender Sean Gregan turned the ball into his own net.
That was a shock enough for the Latics fans who never would have dreamt of a defeat on the first half show but then the Reds corner routine – John Miles to Phil Edwards – came off and the defender drilled the ball low into the net to make his Stanley's joint top scorer for the season with two goals.
"Phil is excellent from set-pieces," said Coleman. "He is one of them that follow the instructions to the letter of the law and lot of the others could learn from his application at set-pieces."
Stanley then piled on the pressure without testing Brill but Oldham did have a couple of chances to force the game into penalties with stopper Dunbavin keeping them out.
He denied Chris Rowney, got his finger-tips to a Ryan Brooke effort and cleared an Abbott knock down with his legs as Brooke waited to pounce.
Oldham were wasteful but that didn't take anything away from Accrington's show after the break. "We were magnificent," said Coleman. " We didn't buckle but we bossed the second half from start to finish and we deserved to win. When we play like that, we are a match for anyone."
He has found the code – but he needs his side to make sure they remember it!