26 December 2016
Alfreton Town had to settle for their first away draw of the season in the Vanarama National League North on Boxing Day, despite holding an interval lead over AFC Telford United at the New Bucks Head.
Craig Westcarr had given the Reds a 13th minute lead from the penalty spot after Sam Smith had been impeded by Paul McCone, the move stemming from Paul Clayton's off-balance pass to Westcarr before the defender's initial error let in the advancing Smith.
Niall Heaton had already floated a deep cross on to the roof of the net and Smith had hooked wide from a Clayton lay-off as Alfreton began the game poisitively. Telford were unable to make their presence felt until the 19th minute when Heaton had to hack clear from a long O'Halloran throw that cased confusion.
Mark Shelton linked with Clayton before seeing his effort blocked, then a driven cross by Heaton eluded the outstretched legs of both Smith and Clayton before an inswinging corner by Westcarr caused home keeper James Montgomery to paw clear at full stretch.
Telford came much more to the fore after the interval with Elliot Hodge forcing an early second half corner following a dangerous and swift break. Josh Wilson then cut in from the right and fired just wide, but the Reds produced a telling move in the 55th minute that saw Clayton's near post effort saved after Westcarr sent Shelton to the by-line.
Telford were level by the 61st minute when Bradley Reid lashed home a Wilson cross from 12 yards, the Reds then having to withstand some heavy pressure as the hosts sought a winner. Keeper Etheridge pulled off some defiant saves from Wilson and Reid before Gianluca Havern fired straight at the keeper with ten minutes remaining.
Alfreton's main attempt in response was generated by Cecil Nyoni's withering run down the left in added on time, which led to Clayton's pull-back for Westcarr and Shelton's subsequent shot from outside the area being held by Montgomery.
In the fifth minute of additional time Telford should have snatched victory, but Wilson shot tamely at Etheridge as the Alfreton defence stood in anticipation of an off-side decision that never came, the home striker probably of similar mind.
On the plus side Alfreton have ended 2016 with a four game unbeaten run, including progress in two cup competitions, during which they have only conceded twice.
Alfreton Town Team:
Alfreton Town : Etheridge, Ryan Wilson, McGowan, Kennedy (Jordan 66), Heaton, Nyoni, Monkhouse, Shelton, Westcarr, Clayton, Sam Smith ( Priestley h/t)
Subs not used : Mantack, Marshall, Hearn
AFC Telford United Team:
AFC Telford United : Montgomery, Samuels, O'Hanlon, Bailey, Havern, McCone ( Hodge h/t), Kissock, Rea, Reid ( Hibbert 79), Josh Wilson, Fitzpatrick
Subs not used : McCarthy, Reynolds, Cowan
Referee: Aaron Jackson