Luke Goddard was the most relieved man in Whitchurch on Saturday night as his side rescued a point to stop the rot against Irlam.

Staring down the barrel of a fourth successive defeat at the hands of Irlam, who had led since the opening minutes, the Alport boss must have wondered when his stuttering side were going to stop the rot.

But Joe Howell made him sleep easier when he thumped in a stoppage-time header to earn the Reds a well-deserved point.

“It looked like we were going to end up beaten again,” he said. “But we got what we deserved in the end. I’d been disappointed with the performances in the last three games but today I thought we played some good football at times.

“I thought we might lose 1-0 or they might catch us on the break and make it 2-0 which would have made it difficult to address the players after something like that, especially with a two-week break now before our next league game.

“We also missed a penalty and got good deliveries into the area and it might not be clicking for us right now in the final third, but we were still a threat, whereas in previous matches we got exactly what we deserved.”

Goddard conceded that his side had been guilty of losing their edge when faced with opponents towards the bottom end of the table.

The Reds boss admitted it is something that has to be worked on in training.

“It’s clearly a problem because it’s a mentality thing and we’ve had this since I got here,” he said. “We’ll use this season to learn from our misgivings and make sure we learn how to adopt different approaches because it’s been our achilles heel.

“If we’d played like we did today in the last three matches then we would have won them all and that’s frustrating for us.

“Obviously the points have been lost now but we would have been in the top three or four had we shown some of the intensity we saw.”

Goddard was delighted with the pride his team showed in rescuing a point and was full of praise for the Alport fans.

He added: “We are only one game away from the halfway stage of the season and we have established ourselves in this division at the first time of asking.

“You can always assemble a squad of players but that doesn’t mean it guarantees you anything. You have to fight for the right to earn the respect of other clubs and we have done that. I’m incredibly proud of everyone that plays their part in making things happen here – it doesn’t happen by magic, a lot of hard work has to go in.

“Our supporters were magnificent today and you could hear them roaring on their side in the last 15 minutes. I was sat in the press box and you could hear the noise building when they sensed the lads were getting on top.

“I’ve praised our fans many times in the past but I’m convinced that their backing today was pivotal in us getting something from the game.”

Alport are next in action on December 5, hosting Allscott in the Ethelston Cup quarter-final (7.45pm).