Whitchurch Alport head into this weekend's home game against Burscough on the back of a defeat against Bootle on Saturday.

The Merseyside outfit recorded their 15th consecutive league win in horrendous conditions at Yockings Park to maintain their push for the Premier division title as only near neighbours and rivals, City of Liverpool, stand in their way in a direct two-way battle for the crown.

Youngster Luke Walley, grabbed a late consolation goal for the Reds in a 3–1 defeat but had no realisation that his effort was a milestone for the club as his 88th minute goal was the 50th scored by the club in the Premier division.

"I really didn't know that," he said, "but that means a lot to me. When the ball came to me I was initially thinking about taking another touch, but I decided to hit it first time and was delighted when it hit the back of the net.

"I scored a similar one at Litherland a few weeks ago and goalkeepers find it hard to set themselves perhaps assuming you'll go for the far corner."

Manager Luke Goddard, although disappointed with the defeat, was heartened by the way his side recovered from conceding a freak goal right on half-time.

"The goal obviously changed the whole dynamics of the game," said the Alport boss. "At one nil down I felt we could have had a really good go at them in the second half.

"Then we concede from a shot that 99 times out of a hundred Parts saves with his eyes closed. There was no negativity during half-time team talk, I just pointed out to the boys that we could try and play some football as I genuinely believed there wasn't much between us.

"In the past few matches we have tried to win ugly – we did so at Litherland and last week at Barnoldswick.

"I thought we struggled at times with their movement and certainly in the first 20 minutes or so they caused us problems and showed why they are in the middle of such an impressive run."

Goddard pointed out that his side were largely inexperienced and did well against a side that could well end up as Premier Division champions next month.

"I think nine of the 16 players we named in the squad today have no experience of playing at this level. Compare that to Bootle where Ryan Cox alone has smashed in plenty of goals at wherever he's played.

"He's a seasoned pro and they have others who are used to playing Premier Division football. Ultimately, the difference between the two sides again today was that they took their chances and we huffed and puffed but didn't create that much.

"The third goal killed us stone dead and while I can't argue that Bootle deserved their win, over the two matches between the sides I really don't feel that there was a chasm despite there being 13 places between us and them."

Burscough make the trip to SY13 this weekend and Goddard sees it as an opportunity to get the three points that should guarantee his side's safety.

He said: "We grabbed a last-minute winner at their place and looking at the fixtures we have left, we have to look at that as a chance to get us a much-needed home win. Our supporters deserve better than what we have given them this season.

"On the road we've been okay and with the size of our away following plenty of our supporters have seen us win games. But those that don't travel haven't seen the lads win for something like five months which is crazy. It's about time we gave them something back for their support and hopefully we can do that on Saturday."

n Saturday's match is kindly sponsored by the Bulls Head.

nThe provisional date for the Ethelston Cup final is Wednesday, March 27 as Alport look to retain the trophy if they can beat FC Oswestry Town.