ALTRINCHAM suffered late, late heartbreak in their Emirates FA Cup second-round tie at Portsmouth on Saturday.

The Robins put in one of their best ever FA Cup performances and were on the verge of a money-spinning replay when experienced striker Brett Pitman latched on to a corner that was flicked on to head high into the roof of the net to instantly crush Alty’s dreams of entering the third-round draw that took place on Monday night.

The draw handed Portsmouth an away tie at fellow League One outfit, Fleetwood Town.

In a fast-flowing end-to-end encounter, Phil Parkinson and Neil Sorvel’s team overcame a slightly edgy start to match and better their illustrious opponents.

Jordan Hulme had a clear penalty denied in the 11th minute and the Robins’ leading scorer went on to produce an epic display, hitting the post just before half time and winning the penalty in the 83rd minute that was drilled home by Josh Hancock, bringing Alty level and sending the 622 travelling support, who roared their side on throughout the game, into dreamland.

Pompey had gone ahead, against the run of play, early in the second half, after a wayward Shaun Densmore header was brilliantly volleyed into the top corner by midfielder Ben Close.

“We’ve had our guts ripped out right at the death but everyone will remember this game for a long, long time,” said an emotional Parkinson after the game.

“All the plaudits have to go to the players, who bridged the three-division gap between the teams and were absolutely brilliant.

“The fans were amazing all afternoon and I was so disappointed that we couldn’t bring them that 18th league scalp.”

Parkinson rested all of the players who started at Portsmouth for Tuesday night’s Cheshire Senior Cup first-round tie at Stalybridge, which saw a young Robins side go out of the competition to two goals in three minutes towards the end of the first half.