MATT Doughty saluted his Altrincham side's fighting spirit after they scrapped their way to a hard-earned goalless draw with promotion-chasing Harrogate Town at The J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday.

Clear-cut scoring chances may have been in short supply, but Doughty was delighted with the way his players responded to the stinging criticism that followed the previous Tuesday's lacklustre Cheshire Senior Cup showing at Hyde United.

"I asked for more fight and hunger and got it 100 per cent," said the Alty boss.

"It wasn't a great game to watch, more a war of attrition, but we matched them.

"It wasn't quality that enabled us to do that, it was effort.

"Maybe in the final third we could have done better again, but we are bottom of the league, and all I can ask of them is to give it a go, and they certainly did that.

"They gave it a right go, and I'm a proud manager after that, whereas on Tuesday I wanted to hang myself.

"I couldn't fault any of them, though the stand-out performances were probably from defence-minded players, which wasn't surprising because Harrogate lump it forward.

"They've got big Simon Ainge up front and defenders are going to be under the cosh, needing to win the aerial battles.

"We did that. We came out on top in that department, and I thought John Cyrus was fantastic.

I had a big pop at him on Tuesday, but his reaction couldn't have been better, and he was rightly man of the match. Chris Lynch was outstanding again, and Jake Moult.

"Kyle Brownhill again showed the defensive midfield role we've given him suits him down to the ground, Elliot Newby did really well and Micah Evans had a brilliant first half, running their defence ragged.

"We need to build on that now by doing more in the final third."

Alty face a busy weekend, with Saturday's home game against Worcester City followed by a presentation of the club's strategic review in the Community Sports Hall on Sunday (7pm). All supporters are invited.