PHIL Parkinson demanded a swift response from his Altrincham players after Gateshead ended their seven-game unbeaten run and climbed above them in the Vanarama National League North table.

A 2-0 defeat on their second trip to the north-east in the space of four days cost travel-weary Alty their place in the play-off positions and led to a call from their manager for a return to winning ways against Bradford Park Avenue at The J.Davidson Stadium this Saturday.

“The second half, in particular, was really disappointing, and that’s something we are going to have to put right, and put right quickly,” said Parkinson. “I accept the players are not robots, and are not going to hit the levels they are capable of every week, but that was so disappointing for the travelling fans, who were outstanding.

“I addressed that with the players and pointed out their performances can make or break people’s weekends, so we’ve got to regroup and go again, because we can’t have too many more days like this one.”

Parkinson rallied round keeper Tony Thompson, whose rare mistake cost Alty the opening goal when he failed to deal with a 42nd-minute corner.

“I’m sure Tony will hold his hands up and say it wasn’t his best game,” he said. “It’s one of the drawbacks of being a keeper that if you’re below-par for even a moment, it can result in a goal.

“But how many times this season have we said how good he has been? I’m not going to lambast him, because he has saved us often enough and will continue to, I’m sure.

“The problem was, there were too many not at their best. You’ve got to have players meriting a seven or eight to win games like this, but we had too many fives and fours in the second half.

“The first half was different. We were in complete control and should have taken some of the chances we created, but people won’t remember that. They will remember how poor we were in the second half, and we have to do something about that.”