Alfreton Town 2-2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

FT: Alfreton Town 2    2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

16 September 2017

Alfreton Town were given a massive scare by AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday in the Second Qualifying Round of the F.A.Cup, when they found themselves two goals adrift at the lmpact Arena inside 32 minutes.

The Reds had started the tie on the front foot, but Joel Gayasi latched on to a loose ball in the 23rd minute to cut in from the right and lash home from 12 yards.

And worse was to come nine minutes later when Diamonds, who ply their trade two divisions below the hosts, doubled their advantage through top-scorer Nabil Shariff from close range after a Claudiu Hoban free-kick caused terrible confusion at the heart of the Reds defence.

Alfreton managed to pull one back through Brody Robertson, who scored his first goal for the club in the 36th minute, side-footing home a deep Brendon Daniels free-kick, but the equaliser only came with seven minutes of the tie remaining.

It was Billy Priestley who spared the Reds' blushes, ramming home from close range from a Daniels cross following a left flank throw, the defender having remained up front with a ligament problem sustained after all the substitutes had been utilised.

Shariff had been left with a golden chance on 13 minutes when clear from Hoban's through-ball, but scooped the ball wide with the goal at his mercy, but Daniels, Cieron Keane and Luke Shiels [twice] had already gone close for the Reds without testing keeper Ben Heath.

Shiels directed a header just off target from an Adam Smith cross, then Chris Sharp fired over from a Robertson pull-back before the opening goal, Alfreton's momentum faltering from that point although Liam Dolman did well to block from a busy Robertson.

Chances at either end just before the break saw Heath beat away a cracking 30-yarder from Daniels before Hoban scooped the ball over from a good opening for the visitors.

HT: Alfreton Town 1    2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds

ln the early stages of the second half Craig Disley's header from a Daniels corner just evaded the back post, then Smith fired over from 20 yards and Craig Westcarr glanced a header wide from a Keane cross.

Priestley made two really good tackles to thwart Hoban and Shariff respectively during a desperate second half, one of which may well have been responsible for his injury, then Ricky German's shot was blocked and Daniels went close with the follow-up as the Reds sought to avoid a replay.

ln the 89th minute though it was only a brilliant flying save by Chris Elliott that prevented Shariff from scoring, having been sent through once again by Hoban.

Alfreton Town Team:

Elliott; Topliss, Shiels, Priestley, Keane, Wood, A.Smith [Jennings 60], Disley, Daniels, Sharp [Westcarr 57], Robertson [German 67].

Other subs: Allan, Marshall, Johnson. 

AFC Rushden & Diamonds Team:

Heath; Farrel, Ford, Punter, Dolman, Bunting [Bell-Toxte 83], Gyasi [Lorraine 78], Curtis, Shariff [Dillon 90], Hoban, Fairlamb.

Other subs: Finlay, Boateng, D.Smith.

Attendance: 403

Man of the Match: Brendon Daniels

Referee: Lewis Smith Match Reports

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