A CONTROVERSIAL penalty four minutes from time meant Accrington Stanley could not make it a perfect 10.

After nine straight UniBond Premier League wins, the pressure was always on for the Reds to hit double figures against a physical Emley side.

It looked good when striker Lutel James converted a 78th minute penalty after a push on defender Steve Halford.

But then referee Jim Waring gave a harsh spot kick on 86th minutes and sent off substitute Barry Shuttleworth for an alleged handball on the goalline.

"The referee knew as soon as he had given it that he had made a mistake," fumed Reds boss John Coleman.

"The shot had gone over Jamie (Speare) and Barry had jumped with his hands up but he realised it was going to go over and pulled back as it hit the bar.

"The assistant ref didn't flag for hand ball but the ref never consulted him, he just gave it.

"The ref said to me afterwards he would try and get the red card rescinded. It's crazy.

"I think he could tell by the reaction of the crowd and the Emley players that as soon as he had pointed, it was a wrong decision.

"I thought it might be a relief in a way to end the winning run as it would take the pressure off every game. But not like this - it was an anti-climax.

"I know we didn't play particularly well but once we scored, I couldn't see them getting back into it."

In truth, it was a nervous performance from Stanley against an Emley side who defended deep, making sure Lutel James and Paul Mullin didn't get a sniff on goal.

The Yorkshire side had the early pressure, the strong Simeon Bambrook causing a few problems while Nick Wood had a shot blocked by Mark Sertori.

Peter Cavanagh and Mike Marsh had a couple of half chances but really there wasn't much goalmouth entertainment for the 1455 crowd.

The game burst into life with Stanley's 78th minute spot kick - a decision questioned by the Emley players.

"It was a clear push," said Coleman. "The question was whether it was inside or outside the area.

"But to be honest, this game shouldn't have been about the referee.

"They had a game-plan to defend deep and it worked and we will have to learn now that teams will do that against us.

"But we could have nicked it 1-0 and it would have back-fired on them."

Instead, Bambrook stepped up four minutes from time to end the Reds 100 per cent record.

James did however have a last gasp chance to make it 2-1 - Stanley's favourite scoreline at home this season - but he couldn't make a firm connection after Marsh had sent him through.

"We have still got a seven point lead and it has been a great start," added Coleman as nearest rivals Burscough only drew.

"Now the season starts again at Ashton Town tomorrow.

"We have got to forget what has happened, win that game and see where we are at Christmas."