IT WAS full-on pantomime season at Yockings Park on Saturday. With Alport 2-1 ahead and the game into its final seven minutes, visitors Congleton Town struck twice to take all three points back to Cheshire.

Town were down to eight players having had three men sent off in a crazy period midway through the second half. From what looked like an unassailable lead, Alport were done by two long balls over-the-top and paid a very heavy price for not having seen the game through.

Incredibly, that’s now a massive 21 points dropped by Whitchurch from winning positions and the defeat must surely have affected confidence within the group going into today’s bank holiday fixture at Runcorn.

Manager Luke Goddard was understandably still shocked the morning after the game: “It’s embarrassing for us to lose in that manner and that’s simply not enough,” he said.

“If we play that game again next week then we don’t lose it, simple as. We were incredibly naïve and once again it’s a mentality issue. There were key moments in the game and we’ve had opportunities to kill the match like the one where Arron Johns runs clear with just the keeper to beat but misses out. Both their goals pretty much came from defensive clearances.”

Goddard said that his side had performed really well up to the sending offs but couldn’t understand why they were better against 11 men than they were against eight: “I thought we were deservedly in front against a side that is in title contention.

“We’d already won at their place so after our no-show against West Didsbury last week, it was refreshing to see us lock horns with a team sat in second place in the table. Despite the obvious disappointment at how the game panned out yesterday, I genuinely believe that we are a very small percentage away from being one of the best teams in this league. We are one of those teams that will always be competitive and are unlikely to get battered by anyone.”

There was a festive atmosphere at the ground with Whitchurch brass band and choir entertaining the crowd at full-time.

Goddard felt that it was another typical performance off the pitch where the club tend to be the ones that everybody else wants to be.

He said: “Where else in this league would you see anyone replicating what we put on for people yesterday?”

“Even with everybody feeling at rock bottom because we hadn’t managed the game properly, there was still plenty of people who stayed back and joined in the carols. That’s my biggest disappointment; the fact that we hadn’t sent our supporters home on a high after what should have been a win under the circumstances.

“I said my bit and left them to it but Dave Parton who is one of our more senior figures addressed the rest of his teammates and said that we owed everyone a performance against Runcorn on Boxing Day.”

On Saturday, Alport are on their travels again when they make the trip to Squires Gate.