Whitchurch Alport ended what could have been a nightmare week with a creditable draw at Hanley Town in the North West Counties Premier League on Saturday.

A 2-0 home defeat against Northwich Victoria was quickly followed by a 7-1 hammering at Warrington Rylands – Alport’s worst league defeat since April 2016.

So a trip to the Potteries was always going to test the character of a side still searching a first league victory with just two points gained from their previous five matches.

Manager, Luke Goddard, handed a jersey to Jamie Hands – a combative midfielder who joined from Market Drayton in time for the Rylands game – and he paid back his new manager’s faith with the equaliser in the second half.

The Reds had to play for an hour with 10 men when Dan Skelton was shown a straight red card for a high challenge and for a further 10 minutes with nine men when defender Will Hall was sent off for dissent but the Shropshire side held firm for a point in a 1-1 draw.

Shortly afterwards the hosts went ahead when Ryan Malbon’s cross-shot looped up off the boot of Lyndon Campbell and dropped in over Lewis Dutton and into the far corner.

As Alport protested a red card was shown in the direction of Goddard there was some confusion with the referee indicating it was his assistant, Jack Turner, who was the miscreant.

From the restart Whitchurch flew out of the traps.

First, Jud Ellis did everything right to create an opening but Town goalkeeper, Ben Chapman, made a fine save and repeated the feat moments later.

With Alport on top the equaliser came as no surprise and Hands’ instinctive backheel from a Campbell nod down went just behind the line to level matters.

The Reds had to survive some late Hanley pressure with nine men but dug deep to earn their just rewards.

Meanwhile England’s national lockdown will see Alport’s forthcoming fixtures against Barnoldswick Town, 1874 Northwich, Winsford United, Squires Gate, Runcorn Town and Ashton Athletic rearranged.