Luke Goddard’s Saturday night must have been a thoroughly miserable one. The Alport boss took his place in the starting line-up following last weekend’s win at Silsden, as the Reds looked to upset Bootle who are on fire at the moment.

On another day, Goddard’s men may well have upset the apple cart for the second week in succession. But they shipped five goals having twice surrendered the lead which means that it’s now 24 points that Alport have lost from winning positions. To compound his misery, the manager was sent off in the closing minutes, which is likely to lead to a three-match ban.

“People will look at that result and think we’ve been battered but nothing could be further from the truth,” said Goddard. “We’ve had a game plan which we stuck to rigidly especially in the first 45 minutes.

“Let’s not forget this was a Bootle side that hadn’t conceded a goal for four matches and yet we punished them twice before half-time. We stayed compact and kept to our shape which enabled us to catch them on the break. Alex had a hand in both goals and we looked threatening every time we went forward.

“Their two goals came from a ‘worldy’ and one of those rare moments where Parts has a routine save to make only to spill the ball right in front of their lad who gobbles up the chance. It’s just where we are at the moment where every little thing is going against us but it will turn.

“I said to the lads in the changing room at half-time that I’d be delighted if it stayed at two apiece but secretly, I knew we’d get more chances in the second half. Their keeper has made two fantastic saves to prevent us from going ahead for a third time and then they go and score to go in front and they seldom looked like losing it.

“That’s the difference between established sides in this division and us where our naïveté has cost us again and again. We can’t keep making excuses and feeling sorry for ourselves. We need to find a way of closing out games. If they (Bootle) had won that match 3-2 then I wouldn’t have had too many complaints because it really was as close as that.”

Speaking about his sending off, the Reds chief hinted that he’d taken one for the team. He said: “I could see him bearing down and felt the only way I could stop him from making it five was to make the foul outside the box and take a yellow card. I was surprised to see the ref give a straight red and he even admitted to our match day secretary that he had sent me off for denying a goalscoring opportunity.

“When it was pointed out to him that there was another defender coming around who was in a good position to make the tackle, the referee said he’d more than likely change that to dangerous play. I thought he was poor today to be honest but the biggest problem for me is that I need to be playing and now I’m probably going to miss three games.”

On Saturday the Reds are back on home soil. Padiham are the visitors to Yockings Park as Alport seek to avenge their narrow defeat earlier in the season.