PHIL Parkinson shrugged aside defeat to form team Spennymoor Town and insisted Altrincham were still on course for the National League North play-offs after signs of a return to the playing style that took them up as champions last season.

Denied what looked a clear penalty for a push on Tom Hannigan early on, Alty dominated possession, only to be caught out by a stunning strike late in the first half and a second goal in the 63rd minute, as title-chasing Spennymoor made it six straight wins.

But, after a disjointed performance against Bradford (Park Avenue) on Saturday, Parkinson was heartened by the possession play that kept his side probing for openings and a lively full debut by on-loan winger Yusifu Ceesay.

"Disappointed though I was with the result, I was really happy with the performance," said the Alty boss.

"I wanted to see us playing like the Altrincham team we have developed since I arrived here, and we saw that.

"I could hear people in the stand getting frustrated when they wanted it played forward a bit quicker, but we have built a team who will succeed by playing our brand of football.

"I was really happy the lads played the way I wanted them to, and we can move forward by building on this.

"There was just a bit of spark missing up front and perhaps a cutting edge defensively against one of the better teams, but after questioning them at Leamington a few weeks ago and being unhappy on Saturday, I felt we were back to being a team I recognised tonight and that encourages me.

"We just need to believe in what we are doing and kick on, and I’m sure we will.

"We are still in the play-offs and fighting tooth and nail to stay there, and I know we have enough to do it, as long as we stick to our philosophy.

"Ceesay was great out wide for us. He faded a little but was electric at times, particularly in the first half, when he made things happen with his

pace and taking people on."