A controversial sending off and penalty led to Stanley suffering a harsh 2-0 defeat at Hartlepool.
Stanley had plenty of chances and two efforts cleared off the line but the game hinged on a decision on the hour by referee Richard Clark.
As keeper Elliot Parish kept out ex-Red Toto Nsiala, the referee blew his whistle and pointed to the penalty spot.
With Stanley players questioning the decision, he then showed the red card to Mark Hughes to compound their misery.
Ex-Red Padraig Amond saw his penalty superbly saved by Parish but, in the resulting scramble, Nicky Deverdics fired home the decisive goal with Lewis Alessandra adding a second in injury time.
It was agony for Stanley who once again missed a host of chances, especially in the first half.
On six minutes, Billy Kee’s flick found Shay McCartan but he couldn’t connect properly from six yards out and it was cleared to Seamus Conneely on the edge of the area whose drive was deflected.
McCartan’s free kick was over the bar while Jordan Clark had a go from distance on 12 minutes and he wasn’t far off.
Kee slid another effort wide after good build-up by Zak Vyner on 22 minutes while Pool’s best chance came on 30 minutes, with the legs of Parish keeping out Lewis Alessandra’s firm strike.
Stanley’s best first half opportunity came on 32 minutes when Nsiala could only clear to the waiting Kee in the area and, as everyone expected the net to bulge, he fired agonisingly wide.
The second half was more even but Stanley still created the better opportunities with, on 55 minutes, a looping Hughes header cleared off the line by Pool.
Stanley appealed for a penalty when Kee went down in the area but the referee was having none of it while Clark had a shot blocked by Nsiala as the Reds continued to press.
Then came the controversy with the sending off and the penalty which made it a fiery finale to the game.
Stanley still had the better chances with Paddy Lacey having a flick cleared off the line on 77 minutes while sub Rommy Boco raced through and Trevor Carson had to be at his best to keep out his fierce strike three minutes from time.
But Pool made it safe in the 92nd minute when a cross found Alessandra unmarked in the area and he had the easiest task to tap home the second.