North West Counties League

Premier Division

Whitchurch Alport 0

Abbey Hey 1

An 86th minute winner condemned Alport to a shock defeat against basement boys Abbey Hey.

It was the classic smash-and-grab from the Mancunians who scored with their one and only chance in the match, and in front of a crowd of 302 Alport did everything but score.

It was a largely scrappy affair on a difficult pitch with the Reds dominant in terms of possession but with no end product.

In the first half Dan Skelton brought a fine save from Abbey’s goalkeeper Ross Haywood but the two best

chances of the half fell to former Northern Ireland international, Steve Jones who had signed dual registration forms from Nantwich Town. The first of them came after a mesmerising run from Lee Pickerill and deserved to be converted.

The left-winger danced beyond player after player and worked the ball towards Jones but he missed the target altogether firing wide of the far post.

Right there and then you sensed it might just be one of those days and when Jones failed to convert another really good opportunity just before half-time it made for a nervy afternoon.

As the teams came out for the second half Alport were quick to prove their intent. Skelton hit a thunderous drive outside the area past Haywood only for the crossbar to save the visitors.

A couple of inches lower and this might have been a completely different game.

Whitchurch threw bodies on in an attempt to win the points and at one stage had four attacking players on the pitch.

Alex Hughes was unlucky not to win a penalty in his first piece of the action and fellow sub Luke Walley couldn’t keep the ball down as the clock ticked ever closer to 90 minutes.

Then came the hammer blow when Brandon Byres-Wilkes was found at the back post and he had all the time in the world to beat Dave Parton with just four minutes left.

You couldn’t help but feel sorry for Parton who had been nothing other than a spectator for the whole afternoon. Credit to Abbey who defended in numbers and centre back pairing Arthur Okonkwo and Jamie McLellan were there to head away everything when Alport decided to go long.

The team were applauded off the pitch by their loyal supporters who had at least recognised the efforts put in by the team.

But being without a home win since October could yet well jeopardise Alport’s position in the top flight.