PHIL Parkinson saluted Altrincham's battling qualities after they shrugged aside a red card for Tom Hannigan to snatch a late equaliser at Nantwich on Tuesday night in a 1-1 draw.

Trailing to a 35th-minute goal, Alty were up against it when experienced centre-back Hannigan was shown a second yellow card for an ill-advised challenge just three minutes later.

But they stunned the home side with a forceful second-half performance that deservedly brought them a draw after winger John Johnston was hauled down in the 86th minute and picked himself up to convert the resulting penalty.

It was just the response Parkinson wanted after an opening-day 3-0 home defeat by Stafford Rangers, and Alty's former Nantwich boss said: "It was an important result for us after having to play with 10 men for such a big chunk of the game.

"To stay in the game the way we did and actually control it, rather than fall to pieces, is a massive positive and will give us great confidence moving forward.

"We showed character, quality in possession, fight, determination and people going to the bitter end for Altrincham Football Club, and the fans can take great heart from that.

"It was just a bit of silly stupidity for the sending off. Tom has held his hands up to that and is devastated, because he knows if he had stayed on the pitch, we would have been more comfortable and would maybe have gone on to win it.

"It was touch-and-go whether the foul was inside the area for the penalty, but we deserved that bit of luck, even though we're not quite clicking yet.

"We are looking good, without quite clicking in the final third, but when you look at the players we've got, it's going to be frightening when we do click and start putting chances away, as well as creating.

"This is a very competitive league, and you have to earn the right to play, as we'll have to do at Matlock on Saturday, but I believe we're not far away."