WHITCHURCH Alport’s hopes of following up last week’s away win at Litherland with a back-to-back victory at Irlam on Saturday were dashed when they conceded the game’s only goal with less than 10 minutes to play.

But Reds boss Luke Goddard wasn’t too downhearted in his post-match assessment of proceedings on the outskirts of Manchester.

“I wasn’t overly negative in the dressing rooms after the match because I didn’t feel we’d done a lot wrong,” said the 28-year-old.

“After playing up front last week and scrapping for a 3-1 win and coming from behind to do so, I felt that my presence might unsettle them in the way it did against Litherland.

“I wanted to turn it into an ugly game and we did that, which frustrated Irlam, but sadly we didn’t create too many chances again.

“I would have happily taken a point today to allow us to perhaps go on a mini run that would help stave off the threat of relegation.

“I think we’ll be fine there as in many ways this league is a strange one. Week in, week out, you see teams getting smashed by four or five goals.

“We go to Barnoldswick next week and they’ve been done by five today. That can make next week’s match at their place one of two things: They either get a reaction from their players after a heavy defeat, or hopefully we can do what we did at Litherland and grind out a result against them in the hope that they are a bit fragile.”

The Alport boss mused over key moments in the match, pointing out enforced changes and refereeing decisions contributed to how the afternoon panned out.

He said: “I thought as a back four we did all right to be honest. But having to make two substitutions after something like 25 minutes obviously affected us.

“Skelts was the bigger loss. No disrespect to Pickers but he and Griff are the kind of pairing that disrupt things and break up play. On top of that, they’ve both got terrific engines which get them up and down the pitch quickly. I didn’t see that in our locker once Dan had been replaced by Joe (Howell) and that frustrated Griff, resulting in a yellow card for him in the second half.

“Then we started to get over-run a little bit with Sean on a tightrope because of the yellow. I thought the referee did OK as well but if he was to analyse his own performance, then he might want to start with three key decisions he needed to make. I’ve got the bruises on my ankle to show that it was a nasty tackle and the ref should have given a straight red to their player.

“For us, he was probably right in awarding a free kick over a penalty just before half-time, but Alex was clean through and their defender was the last man so he could have gone.

“In the second half was the most blatant handball in the box that you will ever see. So that was an obvious pen that we didn’t get and when the game is goalless you obviously hope that you can strike first.

“Then after they scored Leon has clipped their lad on the heels right on the edge of the area when he has a clear run at goal and in a central position. No one would have argued if Leon had been sent off yet the ref gives nothing at all – unbelievable!”

Alport should be able to call on skipper Darren Campion who had to sit out the game at Irlam through suspension under the totting up procedure. The defender was at the ground on Saturday trying to gee up his teammates and would have been impressed by the display given by youngster Callum O’Connor, who gave an accomplished display alongside Ashman at the heart of the Reds defence.

*** There are still a handful of seats available for Saturday’s trip to Barnoldswick.

Contact club secretary Laura Thelwell on 07527 803111.