PHIL Parkinson refused to be downbeat after Altrincham failed to extend their eight-match winning home run but still stayed top of the Evo-Stik Premier with an enthralling 1-1 draw against Buxton at The J.Davidson Stadium.

Matched blow for blow by a lively Buxton side, Alty recovered from conceding early on with a Josh Hancock equaliser and almost won it when Jordan Hulme rounded the keeper but saw his shot cleared off the line.

There were no complaints from Parkinson, though, as he saluted an impressive debut for on-loan Stockport County left-back Connor Hampson and a makeshift midfield pairing of fit-again Laurence Taylor and winger Max Harrop that more than made up for suspensions for Jake Moult and Simon Richman.

"It was end-to-end stuff all the way and must have been fantastic to watch," said the Alty boss, ahead of Saturday's home FA Trophy tie with Ramsbottom United.

"I was made up with Connor, especially as he hasn't played for a while, I thought Laurence grew into the game, and made some great tackles near the end, and Max is just a very good player, technically gifted as well as versatile.

"Painful as it is for me to say it, I think a draw was probably a fair reflection, even though you have to say Jordan's chance was a golden opportunity to win it.

"Jordan is killing himself in there, because he knows he should score.

"I think it got stuck under his boot a bit, but I will certainly back him, because he has been fantastic for me and the club since joining us.

"If that was a defining moment, so was Tony Thompson's save from Liam Hardy.

"When Hardy is through like that, you generally put your mortgage on him scoring, but Tony made it so difficult for him.

"It was (Peter) Schmeichel-esque, the way he came out and blocked it.

"He has done that before for us this season, which is why I brought him into the team. He was like a man-mountain all game."