Whitchurch Alport’s long-delayed North West Counties Football League (NWCFL) season finally got underway at a rain-soaked Padiham on Saturday.

And if Luke Goddard had any concerns about the character in his side before the match they were quelled emphatically as Alport fought back to earn a point after coming from behind on four separate occasions.

The two teams traded eight goals with the Reds equalising dramatically in added on time with the scruffiest of levellers through Joe Howell – his second of the match.

The Alport boss was glad to have got something from the game but felt they should have come away with all three points.

“I thought offensively today we were the best we have been for a while, but at the back our frailties were very clear,” he said.

“If you look at the positives then we have scored four goals away from home at an established Premier division side and we have shown great togetherness in rescuing a point.

“But each time we scored I thought we would push on and punish them as they weren’t a good side and didn’t have to work too hard for their goals.

“More than once they lumped the ball over the top and caught us out but we didn’t throw in the towel and deserved a point at the very least in awful conditions.”

Jud Ellis netted a penalty in first-half stoppage time and Howell pounced to make it 2-2 minutes after Padiham had gone back in front shortly after the restart.

The hosts scored again on the hour but Louis James scored his first goal for Alport with a thunderous strike with 18 minutes left, and Howell squared the match at 4-4. Whitchurch were on their travels again last night (Tuesday) with a trip to Irlam before hosting Ashton Athletic on Monday night.

Admission will be pay on the gate and the kick-off time at the KMJ Mortgages Stadium is 7.45pm.