Whitchurch Alport manager, Matt Burton, admitted to feeling shellshocked after Saturday's 4–2 defeat at Irlam.

The scoreline in no way reflects the story of the game because the Reds were 4-0 down inside 20 minutes.

Although Alport rallied in the second half they looked like a team that had never met each other such were their defensive lapses in the opening exchanges.

Burton's message to the team before the game clearly wasn't heeded and the gaffer was still scratching his head the day after the game.

"I'm completely baffled to be honest," said Matt.

"No one could have predicted the start we made because I'd sent the lads out with a specific message and that was to express themselves.

"They're not the ones under pressure; I am and I told them so.

"We didn't even lay a glove on them and that was the most disappointing thing.

"I've never been involved in any game quite like it where one of my teams has fallen behind early and caved in to such an extent where we could have been 5-0 down after just 20 minutes.

"Once we'd recovered – if that's the right word – from the early capitulation, I thought for 60 minutes or so we were the better side and limited them to very few opportunities.

"Their keeper made a couple of good saves in the first half and we should have had a pen when Jud was fouled in the area.

"They were already four nil up at the time but if we'd have got one back then who knows what might have happened."

Burton said he'd used some psychological tactics during the interval.

"I told the team at half-time that I didn't want us to concede any more goals and that even if we drew the second half 0–0 then I would take that," he added.

"It was a little bit of reverse psychology if you like and it worked.

"They were always going to get one chance and it was only one but Jack made a fantastic save to make sure things weren't going to get any worse for us.

"We had 70 or 80 fans travel to watch us, paying hard earned money, and I reminded the players that they deserved something for their commitment to us.

"After the break there was only one team in it and I counted at least four really good opportunities to score on top of the two we did manage to get.

"Credit to the players for their response but the game was already lost wasn't it"

The Alport manager has been in charge since November but he doesn't hide from his responsibilities and understands the fan's frustrations.

"If I could put my finger on where it is going wrong then I would say so and I'd make damned sure we would put it right," added Matt.

"The buck stops with me and so it should 100 per cent – I'm the manager.

"The stats don't lie and two wins in 19 games isn't good enough; you don't have to be a top-class coach to know that.

"Every week I look at the opposition and think maybe I would take one of their players but never really many more than that.

"Yesterday, I think [Irlam's] manager would have taken all our lads and put them into his squad.

"We had probably the best 16 players I've had at my disposal since I came here and I'm genuinely left scratching my head as to how this group of talented lads has only won two matches.

"I've spoken openly about how things haven't gone in our favour when you most need them to.

"We gave Marc Evans his debut at Irlam and we wanted to play him against Rylands but the international clearance only came in the day after the game.

"Then he was supposed to play alongside Jud yesterday and there were signs of promise there – but Jud turned his ankle in the pre-match warm-up and so had to play with heavy strapping.

"We'll have to lick our wounds and try to find a way to get a few results like we did earlier in the year."

Rumours were emanating at the Irlam game on Saturday that the NWCFL season may well be cancelled or at least postponed indefinitely.

At the time of going to print though, Alport are in action this evening (Wednesday) as they face a trip to in-form Runcorn Town before a scheduled home match on Saturday against Avro.

The game is sponsored by Lorna's House.

Matt Burton is also unsure of the effect the coronavirus will have on the season.

"No one knows what the future holds with this coronavirus," said Matt.

"As a football club that depends on sponsorship we know that many local businesses will be hugely affected by this and people's spending will be completely different once this is all behind us.

"Will they want to have advertising boards up at the ground or sponsor games?

"Even for a club like ours, the little and oftens add up and we will have brought in provisions for the next two or three home games.

"If they are not going to take place then some products have a shelf life.

"We'll have contingencies of course and we are lucky that we have a superb facility in the Cadstones Clubhouse that can generate non-matchday revenue.

"When you're averaging 230, 240 people every game then that will leave a huge gap in the finances if it's going to be three or four months without any football.

"I don't believe the decision to carry on, suspend or scrap the season will lie with the NWCFL – it will be an FA decision.

"Based on the fact that all Premier League and EFL matches have been postponed for at least three weeks, I don't think anyone would be surprised if our season was called off."