Cheadle Town 3-3 Whitchurch Alport

Happy New Year.

And what a match to kick 2017 off with. A rambunctious affair with six goals thrown in, one of which will be remembered for many years to come by those that were lucky enough to witness it.

From a neutral's perspective a draw was probably a fair result but from our point of view it was the least we deserved for a spirited display, refusing to bend the knee as we came from behind thrice to claim our richly-deserved point.

This game didn't take long to spring to life. As early as the first minute the Alport no9 - Simon Everall - found himself through on goal but was thwarted by an excellent stop by Dane Smith.

It was our turn to then get a hold of the game as George Blackwell scooped a shot just over the bar from the edge of the area and Justin Pickering then fired an effort just wide of the post following a neat move.

Dane Smith then had to make another block from a tight angle as Everall almost profited from a loose pass in the defence before his dangerous-looking cross from the right was scrambled away by Banda on the 20 minute mark.

Three minutes later Everall got his reward for his industry by latching onto a through pass from the Alport no11 and slotting home to Smith's right. This came at a bad time for us as it was becoming evident that centre-back Joe Shaw was struggling with his asthma, a struggle he eventually lost soon after Whitchurch's opener meaning that Magida was brought on to replace him with the back line being shuffled.

As the half came to a close Dane Smith denied Everall once again before Justin Pickering then got himself in a promising position on the edge of the box but just couldn't find the space to get the shot away.

And then, within stoppage time of the first-half, we drew level.

And it was the most direct of goals. A route-one clearance from Smith was misjudged by an Alport defender who allowed it to bounce over him; the alert Matthew Todd was able to sneak around the back of him and jab the ball over the head of the oncoming keeper.

The second half was only nine minutes old when another goalscoring opportunity presented itself to Alport, this time in the shape of a penalty that Blundell smashed home.

And just five minutes after that, the moment of the match and the early contender for goal of the season that drew us level.

To the untrained eye there didn't seem to be anything "on" for Justin Pickering when he picked up a pass in the middle of the field but in a flash he caught the ball on the bounce and unleashed a dipping 40-yard shot that nestled into the top half of the net.

Our tails were up and we then could have edged ourselves in to the lead. Webb was denied by a good save at the near post with a George Blackwell corner then scuttling across the face of the goal with nobody around to perform the simple task of poking the ball home.

Straight down the other end Alport's Everall performed a neat turn-and-shot in the area that flashed just wide of the post before the visitors regained the lead on the 65th minute with their own pick of the goals when Blundell cut inside from the right and unleashed an unstoppable effort.

On 78 minutes another of George Blackwell's corner caused problems for Alport as Matthew Todd went sliding in at the near post and almost connected before Banda was on-hand to hack clear after Dane Smith had seen a shot squirm out of his grasp.

With just three minutes remaining we were back on terms. A corner in from the left was met by all manner of heads either trying to head home or head clear with the ball spilling loose to the feet of Thabiso Magida to crash home from close range.

And we could have won it.

In stoppage time Liam Tongue went on a mazy run down the right and clipped a cross in to the far post where Matthew German was unmarked and looked set to score, but somehow the ball bounced over his feet to safety. Had he connected I'm sure he would have enjoyed it as it would have been perfect redemption in the face of the unwanted attention he was getting from the more vocal members of Whitchurch's travelling support.

We're starting to drum up a half-decent run of form: two wins and one draw in the last three against a team that certainly fancies itself for the play-off picture (our local rivals), a team that might have fancied itself for the play-off picture (Bacup Borough) and a team that most certainly will be up there at the end of the season (Whitchurch).

Next up is an interesting-looking home encounter against Silsden: one of the relegated sides from the Premier Division and in-form going into 2017.

TEAM: Smith, Dunn, Banda, German, Tongue, Shaw (Magida), Todd, Russell (Wood), Webb (Tosum), Pickering, Blackwell. SUBS: Piggott (gk), Magida, Tosum, Wood.