PHIL Parkinson challenged his players to add another chapter to the Altrincham success story after they fought back from two-goal arrears to force a 2-2 draw with promotion favourites Stockport County at Edgeley Park.

In an eventful start to the New Year, Yusifu Ceesay and Ryan Colclough scored within five minutes of each other to haul Alty level, and substitute Tom Peers went agonisingly close to a dramatic stoppage-time winner with a point-blank shot that was brilliantly saved.

As he reflected on two draws with big-spending County in the space of a week that placed Alty seventh in the National League, Parkinson revealed the message he delivered to his players, as they head towards the second half of the season.

“I told the lads to keep believing, because if they do that, you never know where this season could take us,” said the Alty boss. “We have a great chance of doing well this season, and I can’t wait to get into this month, with all the challenges and opportunities it will present.

“Stockport were great in the first half, but in the second half, we were really brave and created opportunities to get back into it.

Messenger Newspapers: Yusifu Ceesay scores Altrincham’s opening goal Yusifu Ceesay scores Altrincham’s opening goal

“Yusifu deserved his goal, and what a finish it was by Ryan, who is repaying the faith we showed in him when we signed him. He gave everything for the cause, and I’m extremely pleased with the players and proud of them.

“We were really positive with the team selection, bringing Dan Mooney and Ryan into the starting line-up and keeping Yusifu in there, and it so nearly brought us all three points, when you think of that fantastic last-minute save. That would have been a great way to finish things off.

“We didn’t just sit back and take it off Stockport. We had a real go at them, and credit to the lads for that.

“To come to one of the biggest favourites to win the league and recover from 2-0 to take a point is an outstanding achievement.”

He added: “I know a lot of people are a little bit down-in-the-mouth with all the restrictions we’re having to put up with, but just keep following us, keep downloading the live streams, keep supporting us and we’ll do our utmost to keep delivering for you.”