CHAIRMAN Eric Whalley admitted it felt like the longest two hours of his life as he waited for the Independent Disciplinary Commission's verdict last Friday.
Stanley were charged by the Football League of fielding two ineligible players in Preston North End's Chris McGrail, on work experience, and teenage goalkeeper Martin Fearon.
Both were involved in games where Stanley earned seven points and the Reds pleaded guilty but said the registration errors were just 'minor technicalities.'
And the Commission agreed, fining Stanley £12,000 - with £6,000 of it suspended - to be paid by 13 April and not docking them any points.
"We were confident but you do get worried the longer it takes," said the chairman. "It was like being in court. The Football League gave their case and we gave ours with the mitigating circumstances and then they went out and deliberated for two hours - the longest two hours of my life!
"They we got called back in again and it was a relief it was just a fine - we would have settled for that.
"I never thought we would get seven points deducted but I did fear that maybe there was a chance of four even though I knew we had a strong case.
"If clubs like Preston, who have adminstrative staff who have worked there for 20 years, they do not realise work experience players need to sign a professional contract to play in the league, then how do we who have been in the league less than 12 months?
"It was just advice in the secretary's handbook and there was no mention of it in the Football League rules. Ignorance is no real defence but they were just minor technical errors and lessons have been learnt."
But despite not getting a points deduction, the Stanley chairman can still not rest easy with the Reds perilously close to the drop zone.
"If we win our three home games we will be safe. We have six games to go and it will be over so quickly - six games in a month - but we need to win our homes games. We have looked at all run-ins of the teams around us and they have to play each other so something has got to give.
"But we have learnt on the field as well - if you look at other teams they have giants in defence. They are physically stronger and I think there will be one or two different players coming in in the summer."
But before that, the chairman is looking to tomorrow's (Sat) clash against Peterborough where he hopes a good crowd will cheer the Reds on as they have just three home matches remaining this season.
"It is Easter so you hope that people come and support us as we need it in the run-in. Peterborough will certainly bring a few as they are bidding for a play-off place so it should be a good atmosphere."
- STANLEY'S Lancashire FA Senior Cup final against Bolton will be played at Clitheroe FC and not Accrington Stanley on May 7. This is because work is beginning on the Reds' pitch on 30 April.
"It is being levelled off," said the chairman, with the work costing five figures. They are also hoping to begin work on the Clayton End roof over the summer.
- STANLEY reserves last home fixture of the season takes place on Wednesday 11 April when they play Rochdale (ko 7pm).