PHIL Parkinson saluted a stirring second-half fightback by Altrincham but admitted to a tinge of frustration after they came tantalisingly close to their first win of the season at Victoria Park on Tuesday night.

Trailing to a first-half goal against Vanarama National League promotion favourites Hartlepool United, Alty stunned their hosts with a Ritchie Sutton equaliser late on and looked set for all three points when full-back Joel Senior was fouled inside the area in added time.

Keeper Ben Killip dashed their hopes with a brilliant save from the resulting penalty by Matty Kosylo, but there was no dampening Alty boss Parkinson’s optimism after a third creditable draw from four games so far.

“You could say it’s slightly mixed emotions, but it’s still a fantastic away point,” said Parkinson whose side were narrowly beaten 2-1 by AFC Fylde in the FA Cup on Sunday.

“There’s no question everyone would have taken that after a three-and-a-half hour journey and being denied an extra day’s rest after Sunday’s FA Cup tie because Hartlepool insisted on sticking to Tuesday night.

“If anything, I’d say we deserved to win it for being so positive. We were the ones looking to get something out of it in the second half, even when we lost Simon Richman to what looks quite a bad injury.

“We could have gone negative and shored things up by sending on a more defensive substitute, but we were positive enough to go with two number 10s, in Dan Mooney and Matty Kosylo, and it paid off.

“In fact, we finished the stronger and were unlucky not to win, but we’re not kidding ourselves about what we are up against. It’s reality, not a sob story, that we are part-time, with players going into work at six in the morning and finishing at 3pm to get to games like this.

“We are going to be underdogs in pretty much every game and every team we face are going to be physically superior because of the extra time they can put in on the training pitch.

“But if we make sure we hit our energy levels, and we get player rotation right, we will stay in games and surprise people, as we so nearly did at Hartlepool.”

Alty are on the road again this Saturday, when they travel to Dover in the National League.