PHIL Parkinson praised his Altrincham players' discipline after they emerged from a bruising encounter with Mickleover Sports with a thoroughly-deserved 2-1 win that reinforced their hold on top spot in the Evo-Stik Premier.

Leading 2-0 at half time, Alty needed restraint and resilience to see off a Mickleover side who angered them with strong-arm tactics in the second half but pushed them all the way in the final few minutes after reducing the arrears late on.

Alty winger John Johnston was flattened in an off-the-ball incident, while players from both sides squared up to each other in a flashpoint moments after the final whistle.

Choosing his words carefully, Parkinson was full of admiration for the way his players kept their cool, saying: "We have shown defensive resilience and togetherness all season, but it was particularly good to see it in such a tough, physical battle where we had to stay strong.

"Tempers flared a bit at the end, but I'm just glad my players conducted themselves properly and pulled themselves away from it.

"They just got on with their cool-down, then came in and celebrated what was a great win.

"You could see they were bouncing in the changing room.

"It was a huge win. It was vital we came here and took the points, because Shaw Lane, Warrington, Stourbridge, Workington and others like them are not going to take their foot off the gas.

"We demonstrated our ability to come away from home and do what is required.

"We were in complete control, but then they get a goal back and it makes for a very nervy ending.

"Full credit to the lads, though, they put their heads in where some wouldn't put their feet and defended resolutely, and I'm delighted for them that they saw it through."

Alty face a top-of-the-table clash with main title rivals Shaw Lane at The J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday, with attacking midfielder James Poole back in contention after a slight thigh injury.