Alport manager Luke Goddard now wants to turn Yockings Park into a fortress.
The boss revealed he told his players he wanted to make the stadium a really difficult place to go and get points, after being disappointed with his side’s home form last season: “We lost nine games here in league and cup last year so I wanted to change the mentality,” he said.
“Little things like changing the pitch dimensions and doing up the home changing rooms were important and those details are paying off.
“We’ve won five out of six here now and kept four clean sheets. Defensively we’re sound and boast the best defensive record in the league with just six goals conceded in 10 matches.
“We have to accept that teams will come here and see the facilities and the big crowd, (220 watched the match against Atherton) and they’re going to thrive on the challenge. It’s important that we match and better anything our opponents have, and try and turn this place into a fortress. Things are going well for us in front of our fans and long may that continue.”
The Reds had beaten Telford Juniors 3-2 in midweek to secure a place in the last eight of the County Cup, and followed that up with a routine 2-0 league victory over Atherton LR on Saturday.
Speaking before the Monday defeat in a penalty shoot-out at home to Northwich Vics in the Macron Challenge Cup, Goddard was delighted to bank the three points but admitted his side hadn’t been at their best.
He said: “We’ve been effective today I would say without being brilliant clearly. I thought the game lacked intensity but we’ve done enough and I don’t think anyone could argue that we didn’t deserve the victory.”
Alport were forced into changes most notably up top with Luke Walley away and Ben Mills struggling with an injury picked up in midweek.
That put the spotlight on skipper Simon Everall who responded well with a fantastic second goal.
“When we were celebrating I said it’s a rarity to see him score from outside the box because most of his goals come in and around rather than from distance.
“We had to take a few risks today as we had one or two playing with knocks and we’ve put Nick Marley higher up the field and slotted Deano (Dean Twigg) in at tight-back which is a role he’ll get more familiar with if we choose to play him there again.
“We won ugly I suppose but Dan’s not really had a save to make because they barely had a shot on target all afternoon.
“I felt the goals came at the right time today and the lads were comfortable. We sat for a percentage of the game so in the second half it lacked any kind of intensity.
“There was another gear we could have gone up possibly to kill the game off earlier but it was a muggy day and the lads ran their socks off so I can’t complain. I thought the energy levels of the midfield three in particular was superb.”
It looked like the Alport boss was prepared to sacrifice the Macron Cup tie against Vics.
He said: “Of course we want to do well in the cups but the Prestwich Heys game on Saturday is of far more significance to us.
“They’re second in the table and on a great run of form and the importance of doing well in games that involve promotion rivals isn’t lost on me. Hopefully we’ll be fresh and can continue our fine home record.”
n Saturday’s game is sponsored by The Bulls Head.
n Alport will play Alsager Town in the LWC Drinks (League) Cup on Monday October 30. The Yockings Park match kicks off at 7.45pm.