21 January 2017
Alfreton had to be content with a goal-less draw against Worcester City when the sides met on Saturday in the Vanarama National League North, leaving both teams hovering just above the relegation places.
0-0 draws are a rarity at the Impact Arena these days, the last one being at home to Dartford before relegation from the Conference National two seasons ago, but the Reds had a golden opportunity to avoid that particular statistic when visiting keeper Ethan Ross superbly saved Craig Westcarr's 58th minute penalty.
The spot-kick had been awarded when Ross brought down Paul Clayton after failing to hold Paul Marshall's driven cross. Westcarr unable to convert an Alfreton penalty for the first time despite aiming for the top corner of the net.
Tom Allan had been recalled from his loan spell at Tadcaster in midweek, whilst Kallum Mantack reuturned to his parent club Oldham Athletic, the only other change from the FA Trophy game at Boreham Wood being Mark Shelton's return to midfield in preference to Andy Monkhouse.
A dull first half conversely started on a positive note, with Clayton dragging his shot wide from an Allan flick in the second minute, a prolonged attacking move five minutes later resulting in Westcarr's bye-line cross being headed into the side-netting by Clayton.
Shelton's angled lob in the 17th minute seemed to scrape the top of the crossbar, but a corner was the outcome much to the keeper's annoyance, then Allan was way off target when teed up by Westcarr, the first half peetering out with Worcester at last pushing forward only to see successive shots by Jordan Keane and Jordan Murphy blocked.
A much livelier second period began with Clayton stretching to head Marshall's corner beyond the back post, then six minutes after the penalty incident Niall Heaton saved the day for Alfreton with a precision tackle as Junior English played Cieron Keane through, the defender then scooping Colby Bishop's glancing header off the line from the ensuing corner.
A swift break by the Reds from that situation led to Clayton being impeded just outside the area, but Ross again excelled by holding Westcarr's free-kick, a late onslaught by the hosts failing to break Worcester's defiant cordon.
Westcarr just evaded the target from Clayton's through-ball in the 76th minute, Brad McGowan was denied by a goal-line clearance from Marshall's corner three minutes later, then right at the end Shelton's 25 yarder lacked the required pace and was comfortably fielded by Ross.
In added time, and far too late to be of any advantage to the Reds, Worcester's Cieron Keane was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
Alfreton Town Team:
Spiess, Wilson, McGowan, Kennedy, Heaton, Nyoni (Gascoigne 70), Shelton, Marshall, Allan ( Monkhouse 69), Clayton, Westcarr ( Priestley 78)
Subs not used : A.Smith, Hearn, Jordan
Worcester City Team:
Ross, Hutchison, Weir, J. Keane, Oji, Digie, Murphy, English, Bishop, Nelson-Ady, C. Keane
Subs not used : Steele, Draper, Turner, Gallinagh. Craig
Referee: Martin Woods