Whitchurch Alport were involved in an FA Vase classic on Saturday in front of 180 fans at Yockings Park.

They eventually saw off Pershore Town on penalties after the match had ended 4-4 after normal time and extra-time.

It stretches the Reds' unbeaten run to eight matches – which is the joint best record since Luke Goddard took over 15 months ago.

It means they can approach this weekend's match – which appears to be their most difficult league game of the season so far – in confident mood.

Litherland REMYCA are one of the favourites for promotion – along with Alport – and both teams have started the campaign well to justify that 'favourites' tag.

Goddard admitted his team had made hard work of the FA Vase tie.

“I don’t think I’ve been involved in a game like that before – except at maybe junior level," he said.

"And certainly not in an FA competition or a game that really means something.

"The important thing for me was getting through and we’ve done that.

"I thought for the first 15 or 20 minutes we were dreadful but for long periods after that we were outstanding and they couldn’t cope with us.

"We hauled ourselves level by half-time and then we scored two quick goals to lead 4-2 – and really the game should have been done by then.

"It was all about game management at that point and we didn’t see the game out.

"I thought we were a constant threat offensively but at the back we weren’t great and that’s not acceptable.

"I thought Louis had a good game but we were poor overall defensively and have let our front players down, because we should have made it a non-contest.

"To be fair to Pershore, they’ve put three keen lads on and their movement and pace was good, so they have made it into a game by having a go with nothing to lose.

"While it’s disappointing to concede four goals, it’s another experience we can learn from – and it has stretched the unbeaten run to eight, which is really pleasing.

"Perhaps we deserved that slice of luck going through on penalties after losing in extra-time last season.

"But we need to be a lot better against Highgate United in the next round in two weeks or we’ll get battered!”

Alport were reduced to 10 men late in the first period of extra time when Stevie McNichol was given a straight red card for what looked an ill-advised challenge.

Goddard said: "I have no arguments with the sending-off – I thought it was deserved.

"I’m not going to sit here and defend it because Stevie got sent off twice last season for similar incidents and it was a tackle he didn’t have to make.

"One of our fans asked me if we were going to appeal against it and I said no because it was a sending-off.

"I’m gutted and I know he will be, too, because he’s been absolutely superb for us this season and now he’s going to be missing for three matches, when we’re already stricken with injuries.

"When he’s served his suspension he might have to wait for his chance to come around again.”

Alport rallied despite having to play 20 minutes or so with 10 men and no substitutes to call on, and Goddard felt his side could have sneaked it despite the shortfall in personnel.

"We actually finished the game on the front foot but when Elliot Ledwards missed a chance with five minutes left, you really did wonder if it was going to be your day – and even more so when we missed our first two penalties.

"But Danny Read has great experience and I knew he’d make a couple of saves because he’s got a terrific record facing penalties.

"He was absolutely tired out afterwards after 120 minutes plus penalties, but I’m sure being the hero will sink in and help him feel a bit better later on.”

There was a surprise inclusion in the Alport squad – shorn of the services of Goddard, Si Everall, who failed a fitness test, Mike Blundell, Joe Minshall and Kieran Smith.

Matty Ashbrook, who has already had two spells with the club, was back and Goddard was delighted to lure him to Yockings.

“I’ve kept in touch with Matty and always got on with the lad. He initially turned up to training on Thursday night and I thought he’d be useful today so planned to give him half-an-hour.

"At 4-2 we threw him on, thinking we’d see the game out comfortably, and the lad’s ended up putting 70 minutes in.

"He’s obviously short of fitness but that will come and he’s shown in flashes what a great asset he could be for us.”

Goddard is looking forward to watching his side go head to head with Litherland on Saturday at the LSP.

Both sides suffered play-off heartbreak last time around, with Remyca beaten 3-0 at home by City of Liverpool in the final.

“I think Remy are the team to beat in this league and if we finish higher than them, there’s a good chance we’ll get promoted,” he said.

“We’re really keen as a group to keep our unbeaten record going so if you offered me a point now, I’d be happy with that.

"Neither of us have lost yet and Silsden are flying so it’s important we do well against teams who will likely be up there challenging with us at the end of the season.

"We’ll have a couple of more additions coming in because our squad needs boosting, especially with our current injury situation.

"We’ve made a few phone calls and expect to have one or two on board by the weekend.”

n The Commander Ethelston Cup draw was made on Sunday night at the Black Bear and Alport were drawn against Tarporley Victoria, last season’s beaten finalists. Prees will play Allscott, Wellington Ams take on the holders Malpas, and two new teams, Penley and St Martins, make up the other quarter-finals. All the ties in the charity competition will be played in October and November with the games taking place in midweek at Yockings Park.