15 October 2016
Alfreton Town ended up needing a Wednesday night replay after being held by National League side Gateshead at the lmpact Arena on Saturday in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the F.A. Cup.
Paul Clayton and Craig Westcarr had built up a 2-0 lead for the Reds with just 14 minutes of the tie remaining, but two goals from Alfreton's top scorer last season Sam Jones had the visitors level by the 81st minute.
The team-sheet saw the return of Cecil Nyoni, Andy Monkhouse, Ryan Wilson and Adam Priestley to the Reds' starting line-up, a promising start seeing Adam Smith's angled drive held by keeper Dan Hanford before 30 seconds had elapsed.
Clayton then saw his third minute header held by Hanford after Brad McGowan had nodded Smith's free-kick back across the six-yard box, but Reds' custodian Fabian Spiess was soon having to field good efforts from Wes York and Nyal Bell.
Priestley almost latched on to a wayward back header from Jamal Fyfield on 19 minutes, but Liam Hogan was able to intervene, Alfreton though able to take advantage of another defensive blunder five minutes later to open the scoring.
Monkhouse delivered a cross from the left that Hanford fumbled as he collided with one of his own defenders, Priestley hammered the loose ball that was partially cleared off the line by Manny Smith and Clayton pounced from close range to score.
Four minutes before half-time the Alfreton contingent were incensed when Clayton went down under a strong challenge from Smith, but referee Stephen Ross waved aside their penalty pleas.
Spiess did well to recover after initially dropping a Reece Styche header from Mitch Brundle's 51st minute free-kick, then 11 minutes later the home keeper pulled off a tremendous save from a Paddy McLaughlin piledriver.
Alfreton's second goal in the 76th minute was an absolute gift, Hogan's wayward pass nowhere near any Gateshead player to leave Craig Westcarr with the simplest of tap-ins shortly after taking the field in place of Priestley.
Ultimately though going two goals down probably provided Gateshead with the catalyst they needed, Jones going on a trademark run before unleashing a shot from the edge of the area that may have been deflected past Spiess in the 78th minute.
Then three minutes later a spectacular left-foot volley from 16 yards by Jones gave Spiess no chance and forced a difficult replay from such a promising position for the hosts.
Alfreton Town Team:
Spiess; Mantack, McGowan, Kennedy, Wilson, Monkhouse, Nyoni, Marshall, A.Smith, Clayton [Allan 73], Priestley [Westcarr 73].
other subs: Heaton, S.Smith.
Hanford; M.Smith, Hogan, Fyfield [Hannant 85], York, Brundle, S.Jones, Bell [Styche 40], D.Jones [Wrightson 60], Mafuta, McLaughlin.
other sub: Johnson.
Referee: Stephen Ross