28 March 2013
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
lfreton Town returned from freezing Essex on Thursday night having lost 1-2 to Braintree Town on a heavily sanded pitch.
Without top scorer Paul Clayton sidelined through injury, Nicky Law's squad was further depleted with knocks sustained by Josh Law and Ben Tomlinson during the course of the game.
The hosts' win was triggered by a goal inside 19 seconds that caught Alfreton cold, despite the Reds having taken the kick-off themselves.
The ball was booted upfield by keeper Nathan McDonald for Ben Wright to tee up Sean Marks, whose low drive from 12 yards nestled in the corner of the net.
The setback heralded a dire first half for the visitors who could not muster a single shot on target, while Braintree fared little better with Kenny Davis twice firing wide while Reds' keeper Jordan Pickford saved at the feet of Marks in the 24th minute.
A much livelier second half saw Dan Bradley fire his 50th minute free-kick into the Braintree wall before Pickford held Marks' angled drive, then back at the other end Louie Soares' shot needed to be headed clear by Dean Wells.
McDonald was finally tested on 66 minutes when Steven Hewitt's corner found Tomlinson, whose header almost crept under the crossbar.
Pickford competently saved an effort from Davis but then failed to hold Sparkes' 69th minute cross, and had to rely on Connor Franklin's clearance.
Seven minutes from time Jordan Rose tripped Marks and Davis converted the penalty to double Braintree's advantage, but Alfreton at least managed a late consolation.
Four minutes of added time had elapsed when Soares latched on to Hewitt's header to fire low past McDonald from just inside the area, and there was no time left for the game to be restarted.
Alfreton Town Team:
22 Jordan Pickford
02 Josh Law (17 Theo Streete, 33 mins)
03 Connor Franklin
05 Adam Quinn
10 Dan Bradley (14 Danny Meadows, 72 mins)
16 Jordan Rose
07 Anton Brown
08 Louie Soares
18 Steven Hewitt
15 Scott Boden (11 Nathan Arnold, 59 mins)
21 Ben Tomlinson
Substitutes not used:
06 Darran Kempson
12 Leigh Franks
Braintree Town Team:
01 Nathan McDonald
03 Sam Habergham
05 Matthew Paine
15 Alan Massey
19 Dean Wells
07 Nicky Symons
08 Kenny Davis
11 Daniel Sparkes (28 Ryan Watts, 71 mins)
33 Woodyard (12 Daley, 82 mins)
09 Sean Marks
37 Ben Wright (14 Kaine Sheppard, 65 mins)
Substitutes not used:
32 Steven Smith
31 Aaron Wickham
Braintree Town - Sean Marks (1), Kenny Davis (85, penalty).
Alfreton Town - Louie Soares (90)
Alfreton Town - Scott Boden (56, foul on Dean Wells)
Attendance breakdown: 409 including approx. 37 from Alfreton.
Man of the Match: Jordan Pickford
Referee: Nicholas Kinseley of Wickford