A DISTRAUGHT Tony Thompson was left inconsolable after a bizarre stoppage-time own goal condemned Altrincham to defeat and dented their hopes of finishing third in National League North at The J.Davidson Stadium.

Victory over Brackley Town would have taken Alty above the Northamptonshire side into third place, and they appeared to be on course after going ahead through a deflected Max Harrop free kick in the 38th minute.

But they were pegged back in the second half and left reeling at the end of added time when keeper Thompson swung his left foot at a Tom Hannigan back pass and missed completely as it bobbled over his boot and into the net.

There was no consoling Thompson when the final whistle sounded seconds later, and Alty manager Phil Parkinson said: "It's a really difficult one to take and everyone has probably gone home feeling empty, gutted and all the other things you feel when something like this happens.

"There was nothing in the game, and we are really disappointed at how it ended.

"It was just an error. A bobble on the pitch has taken the ball away from Thommo, and he is absolutely devastated in there.

"You start thinking could we have done anything different but I'm not going to point any fingers because the lads have been absolutely superb.

"I hope people don't go too far over the top.

"I did hear one or two really negative comments at the end of the game and you just think, 'come on, these boys have been fantastic all season'.

"These things happen in football and it's how you bounce back.

"We will bounce back, and I just ask for a bit of perspective and a realisation of how well these boys have done for this club.

"So let's stick together and make sure the knives are not out tonight.

"It's easy to do that when you lose and are hurting, but how about regrouping and coming together and making sure we give these boys everything, because they have given everything during the course of this season."