31 August 2015
Tom Allan's 81st minute towering header from a Niall Heaton throw rebounded off the back post to give Alfreton Town their first win in 16 league games as they beat Gainsborough Trinity 1-0 at a damp lmpact Arena on Bank Holiday Monday.
Having taken a first half lead in their previous four games and failed to hold on to their advantage, the Reds had only nine minutes plus added time to survive on this occasion, and apart from a poor header by Nicholas Bignall when well placed that task was carried out comfortably.
Injuries sustained 48 hours earlier kept Andi Thanoj and Sam Smith out of the squad, whilst Sam Jones was sidelined through illness, and with skipper Dan Bradley serving the second of a seven-match suspension, it resulted in only two outfield players being available for the bench.
Joe Leesley was given a role in central midfield that he relished, and quite a few moves emanated from that source, which in turn seemed to add confidence to the team in general, particularly after a fairly mundane first half.
The first 13 minutes saw Alfreton force a couple of corners, the second of which taken by Leesley allowed Todd Jordan to glance a header wide, then John Johnston's angled drive was blocked by Dominic Roma.
Liam Davis miskicked at the back post from Jamie Yates' 24th minute cross, then Gainsborough stepped up a gear with Reds' keeper Matt Duke tipping over a Steven Brogan free-kick.
Duke then had to claw behind an awkward by-line free-kick from Brogan after 39 minutes, then in response Johnston wasted a Leesley throughball by pulling his shot wide.
Trinity must have wondered how they failed to score seconds before half-time, Nicholas Bignall's full-blooded drive blocked by Todd Jordan before Charlie Binns lashed the loose ball against the upright.
A much more determined Alfreton emerged after the break, Johnston firing over after Allan's shot had been blocked, then visiting keeper Jan Budtz had to scramble to his right to keep out Heaton's low drive.
Budtz somehow kept out Leesley's 51st minute rasper after Ryan Wilson had teed up a well-rehearsed free-kick, then at the other end Duke was down well to keep out a Brogan shot that had taken a hefty deflection off Wilson.
Wilson had a shot saved, then Roma was almost lured into slicing the ball into his own net after Leesley had picked out Wilson, so the goal when it came was very much deserved by that stage of the game.
Alfreton Town Team:
Joe Ironside (Sam Berry, 77 mins)
Substitutes not used:
Nick Draper (GK)
Gainsborough Trinity Team:
Quinn (Brogan 45)
Jarman (Newsham 90)
Yates (Forrest 75)
Substitutes not used:
Alfreton Town - Tom Allan (81 mins)
Gainsborough Trinity - Lacey (foul on John Johnston)
Man of the Match: Tom Allan
Referee: Gareth Mellor of Leeds