Luke Goddard admitted his Whitchurch Alport side “got out of jail” after Monday night’s thrilling last-minute win against Squires Gate.

The visitors arrived in Shropshire on the back of a four-goal mauling at home to Ashton, but Alport had also suffered a 4-0 reverse at Charnock Richard – the heaviest defeat under Goddard’s reign.

However, they soon returned to winning ways with a last-minute penalty separating the two sides.

“We got away with one there,” said Goddard. “Fair play to Squires Gate, they showed that they are a better team than what their position in the table might say.

“But we huffed and puffed and looked devoid of confidence and that’s come from not being able to build any momentum in the month of October.

“Tonight was all about putting Saturday behind us and we got the three points so hopefully we can build on this.”

Alport missed a host of chances in the first half and Goddard was in unforgiving mood.

He added: “We said in the changing rooms at half-time that we couldn’t afford to be missing chances like the ones in the first half.

“There were three that I can think of that didn’t even hit the target and sometimes you can accept the odd one or two getting away. That could have cost us dearly and we’ve warned the lads that it’s not just about matchday performances, we have to be right on the training ground.

“If we want to be taken as genuine contenders for promotion, and that’s what we want, we have to improve and try to get back to where we were earlier on in the season.”

Whitchurch goalkeeper, Dave Parton, made several first class saves in the match at critical times and the Reds boss paid tribute to him post-match.

“I thought maybe he was at fault for the second goal but he made three or four outstanding saves and realistically he’s got us the three points tonight, so I can forgive him for the error.

He’s certainly proved his worth tonight and that’s what he is there for. I’m honest enough to say that when they scored their second goal, I had seen it coming and they deserved to be back on level terms.

“We hadn’t pressed enough all night and we didn’t stop enough crosses coming into our box. The passage of play for the equaliser started on the right then switched to the left and when the ball has come in, we haven’t engaged just like we didn’t engage in the first few minutes of the match.

“We’ve got to improve in both boxes. Yes, we’ve scored three goals but no disrespect to Squires Gate, if we’d have played one of the top sides here tonight and been as open as we were, we would have got punished.

“We’ve been gifted chances to score seven or eight goals but so have they. I’m just relieved to have got the three points after what was a poor performance.

“There was a stat kicking around earlier on in the campaign which showed we were at our most dangerous in the first 15 minutes of matches when we went at teams. For whatever reason, we haven’t done that over the past five or six weeks.

“It’s been a tough time and we don’t usually do well when we have conceded the first goal, but last week against Irlam we managed to grab a point and tonight, we got all three.”

Goddard could barely watch as Alex Hughes stepped up to take that last-minute penalty.

“I’m not very good at watching penalties,” said Goddard. “Thankfully, Alex has found the bottom corner and it was an

important goal for him.

“He’s our number nine and we want him to be scoring regularly, the same with Steve Jones. I decided to leave him out on Saturday knowing that I’d be starting him tonight and he is another one that thrives on scoring goals.

“Jonah’s top scorer for us with 10 goals and although he’s had a poor game tonight, he’s scored with a great header. He sets his own standards and every striker needs confidence and there’s no better way of getting that than winning matches and scoring goals.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to kick on this Saturday and Monday.”

Alport entertain Shelley on Saturday in the Macron Cup second round, and are at home again on Monday evening when they host Litherland REMYCA – a game kindly sponsored by Tilstock Motors.