Whitchurch Alport’s stuttering campaign finally showed signs of abating with a vital away win at Litherland REMYCA.

The fact that it came against a side that had something of psychological hold against Alport gave the result a more satisfying look to it.

Manager Luke Goddard hadn’t played since his sending off at Bootle but decided to throw himself into the fray if only to provide a nuisance value to the opposition. And boy, did that decision prove to be a masterstroke.

The Alport boss was delighted to see his side demonstrate that they have bottle when all sorts of questions were being asked as to whether or not the team could prepare itself for a potential relegation battle.

“I wanted us to show a bit of aggression out there today and I knew that by throwing myself around I could disrupt their rhythm and we grew in confidence as the match went on,” he said.

“Usually, when we play them they are always tight affairs and yet they nearly always come through the game as winners. I think they’d beaten us six times in the previous seven meetings and today more than ever we needed the points.

“Sometimes this season things haven’t gone entirely our way particularly on home soil as there have always been late dramas it seems. Against 74, Silsden, Abbey last week, Congleton before Christmas; it’s like a never-ending list of hard luck stories.

“OK, we might not always have got what we deserved from matches, but today you could see that we rode our luck a little bit. I’ve been given a yellow card when their players were screaming for a red after a challenge on the goalkeeper and it just might have been at that moment that they realised we weren’t going to be a soft touch. And just before half-time we clear a shot off the line when a 2-0 deficit at the interval might have made it really hard for us to come back from.”

Goddard admitted that he told his players before the game that he wouldn’t pay money to watch his side given recent performances but praised the fans for their support.

“We had fans paying £15 for the coach travel, £5 to get in and other associated costs. As a very bare minimum I asked that we gave everything so that when we got back on the bus, even if we lost 1-0, we could have held our heads high because we’d put in a shift from one to 11 and we saw that.

“Fans will forgive you anything if you sweat blood for the cause and that’s what I thought we did, especially in the second half. The first half wasn’t pretty and we created very little but we’ve been a little bit more clinical with our chances. That’s been missing in recent weeks and once we know we are clear of any relegation issues we will begin to plan in earnest for next season.”

On Saturday, the Reds travel to Irlam. The two sides shared the points at Yockings when an injury-time leveller from Joe Howell denied Irlam victory.

n Alport will play FC Oswestry Town in the final of the Ethelston Cup after FC Oswestry beat St Martin’s in last week’s semi-final at Yockings Park.