PHIL Parkinson issued a heartfelt plea for unity after Altrincham dropped out of the National League North play-off places following a 1-0 home defeat to Stockport County at a packed J.Davidson Stadium.

An afternoon of frustration for Alty meant they have taken just two points from their last four games, while County have now beaten the Robins four times this season without conceding a goal.

It was hard to take for home supporters in a 3,000-plus crowd, but Parkinson backed his players to reignite a promotion push and urged Alty followers to stick by them, ahead of another tough test at Boston United on Saturday.

"Stockport are the best out-of-possession team we have faced all season," said the Alty boss.

"I never thought any side would be able to keep us out for four games, so full credit to them for doing that.

"We threw everyone forward in the last 10 minutes, including one of the centre-backs, and went fairly direct.

"People may wonder why we didn’t do that from the start, but we would have lost by four or five.

"We nearly conceded on the break as it was, they would just have picked us off.

"The players are frustrated, everyone is, but I would just send a plea out to the fans that we must remain positive, because it’s not all doom and gloom.

"I’ve said ever since I arrived here there will be a tough period, and maybe this is it.

"But we’ve lost twice in the league in three months. It’s not the apocalypse.

"There were positives. I keep hearing we can’t defend corners, but we faced more today than we have all season and dealt with them all against a side who specialise in exploiting them.

"We also showed we have a group of lads who will keep going to the bitter end.

"I thought we got stronger as the game wore on.

"I’m certainly not panicking. The pendulum can swing very quickly, and we need to build momentum again, because we’ve had a taste of being in the play-offs and it’s a realistic aim to get back in there."