Alfreton Town 1-3 Stockport County

FT: Alfreton Town 1    3 Stockport County

01 January 2018

New Year's Day failed to herald a new start for Alfreton Town as they slipped into the relegation places with a 1-3 defeat to Stockport County at the lmpact Arena, the visitors completing a quick-fire double having won 1-0 at Edgeley Park on Boxing Day. 

A goal down inside seven minutes the Reds' cause was not helped by Craig Westcarr's 34th minute red card for foul and abusive language to the assistant referee after a decision had gone against him.

It was defender Chris Smalley who lashed home the loose ball following an Adam Thomas corner to give Stockport an early lead, the same player doubling their tally five minutes into the second half when he stabbed home a Thomas free-kick from close range.

A rare blunder by keeper Chris Elliott saw the Reds' keeper help an inswinging Scott Duxbury corner into his own net with 15 minutes remaining, but there was a late consolation for Alfreton deep into added time when sub Brendon Daniels converted a penalty after being brought down by Dan Cowan.

One bright spot for the home side was an enterprising debut by midfielder James Baxendale, who showed enough to suggest that he will be an asset in vital games to come over the next few weeks, and generally the team played some bright football, certainly creating more chances than in recent games.

HT: Alfreton Town 0    1 Stockport County

However a sixth straight defeat at home in the National League North will have left a bitter taste, but there are some crucial games coming up this month, beginning with a must-win game at basement club North Ferriby on Saturday.

Tom Allan almost headed the Reds back into contention in the 55th minute, but his effort from a deep Cieron Keane free-kick drifted wide, then eight minutes later Frank Mulhern headed wide at the back post from a Baxendale cross.

Other chances for the Reds had seen Mulhern twice go close in the first half before his rasping drive was tipped over by visiting keeper Ben Hinchliffe on 43 minutes, then six minutes before Alfreton conceded the third goal Luke Shiels saw his firm header repelled by Hinchliffe from another Baxendale cross.

However moments later Matty Warburton should have scored when sent clear, only to guide his shot against the inside of the post.

Alfreton Town Team:

Elliott; Topliss, Shiels, Allan, Keane, Wood [Daniels 72], Platt, Disley, Baxendale, Westcarr, Mulhern.

Other subs: Jennings, Everington, Johnson, Sharp.

Stockport County Team:

Hinchliffe; Cowan, Duxbury, Ball, Smalley [Clarke 58], O'Halloran, Thomas [McKenna 78], Stopforth [Winter 40], Oswell, Warburton, Stephenson.

Other subs: Dixon, Ormson.

Attendance: 949

Man of the Match: James Baxendale

Referee: Anthony Tankard Match Reports

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