North West Counties Football League

Premier Division

Whitchurch Alport 0

Bootle 1

Whitchurch Alport were beaten by Bootle on Saturday, and for the second time this season, this match was decided by a solitary goal.

Back in October the Reds fell to their first league defeat of the season at Vesty Road, and a 74th minute winner from Carl Peers gave the away side the double over Alport at Yockings.

This game could have gone either way but once again it was the host's inability to convert chances into goals that proved costly in the end.

The match started with a high-octane tempo with a free-kick from John Connolly bringing out a save from Dave Parton and Jack McGovern in the opposite goal did well to gather Jud Ellis’s goalbound effort within the first two minutes.

Shortly after, Robert Doran went clean through only for Parton to save but his parry out to Connolly should have been converted. Sadly – for Bootle at least – he blasted his effort over the top.

Lewis Jarman fired wide and all this before 10 minutes was on the clock.

For Alport, both Alex Hughes and Steven Hoy made the opposition keeper work but the closest either side came to scoring in a frenetic opening 45 came after 27 minutes when McGovern did just enough to divert an Ellis effort onto the bar.

Connolly could have and should have done better when he sprang clear in first-half stoppage time but on this occasion, Parton was not called into action and it was all-square going into the break.

In the second period, Alport came out and pushed hard for a opener – after the interval Dan Skelton and Sam Phillips both fired shots just wide of McGovern’s upright, but then came the hammer blow.

Against the run of play, Bootle grabbed the only goal of the game when Peers got on the end of an inviting cross to steer his header just beyond Parton.

This was the sixth time in the last nine outings that Alport had failed to beat their opponent's keeper – a worrying trend to occupy Matt Burton’s mind this week.

Despite their recent run of form, the Reds are still in the top 10 of the Premier Division, 17 points off the promotion places.