07 October 2014
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Alfreton Town suffered their fourth defeat on the bounce, without scoring, when they made the lengthy trip north to Gateshead on Tuesday night.
Tyneside has never been a happy hunting ground for the Reds, who are without a win at the International Athletics Stadium since 1973, and there was little evidence of that statistic being rectified when they trailed 2-0 after just 13 minutes.
For Alfreton it was a third 0-2 defeat inside 11 days, but whereas previously they had appeared to throw in the towel after conceding at least they knuckled down and made a fist of it on this occasion, striking the same upright twice in the 23rd minute for good measure.
Manager Nicky Law made two changes, enforced by injuries that David Mellor and Andi Thanoj had picked up at Aldershot, with Anthony Howell recalled to midfield and Dan Gray making a rare start at left-back.
Gray's long throw in the first minute led to Joe lronside having a shot blocked, but at the same time Jordan Keane picked up a nasty head injury.
Keane was still receiving attention off the field when Gateshead struck with the opening goal in the eighth minute, Jon Shaw turning Tom Allan's cross past Cameron Dawson from six yards.
Tom Shaw was brought into the action to replace the stricken Keane in the tenth minute, but just three minutes later a poor back-pass from Bradley Wood set up Shaw for his second goal.
Wood attempted to chest the ball back to his keeper, Shaw - so often the scourge of Alfreton with numerous goals against them in the past, including a hat-trick a few seasons ago - nipped in and despite Wood's best effort to atone by bravely blocking the shot the ball looped up to provide the Gateshead striker with a simple header.
Incredibly both Dan Bradley and Duane Courtney were thwarted by the same spot on the keeper's left-hand upright midway through the first half, then Karl Hawley was well off target after Luke Graham had headed on a Gray cross.
In first-half added time a Howell corner led to Courtney's near post header flashing across the face of the goal, then another Gray cross saw Allan have to hurriedly concede a corner after Hawley's neat flick on.
Two minutes after the break Bradley was sent to the by-line by lronside with Hawley forcing a corner through near post pressure, then Courtney fired wide as the home side appeared to have completely lost momentum.
The introduction of Alex Rodman sparked a resurgence for Gateshead though, but the sub shot straight at Dawson when gifted a clear chance on 62 minutes, before Phil Turnbull drew a decent save from Dawson from 18 yards.
Rodman then saw his effort blocked by Wood in the 72nd minute before firing wide moments later, then Dawson needed to make a stretching save nine minutes from time from a powerful Rodman header following a corner.
Cameo appearances for the last ten minutes for Paul Clayton and Massiah McDonald failed to make any further inroads as Gateshead comfortably retained their advantage, although a back-pass on 88 minutes saw McDonald react quickly to set up Clayton but the move petered out.
The end result was another desperately disappointing defeat for Alfreton, but at least for the final 75 minutes, albeit after the damage had been done, the midfield held their ground and managed to prevent further damage.
Alfreton Town Team:
20 Cameron Dawson
02 Bradley Wood
03 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
04 Duane Courtney
05 Luke Graham
10 Dan Bradley
11 Anthony Howell
15 Jordan Keane (12 Tom Shaw, 10 mins)
16 Dan Gray
18 Joe Ironside (09 Paul Clayton, 79 mins)
23 Karl Hawley (17 Massiah cDonald, 79 mins)
Substitutes not used:
14 Jake Sheridan
01 Adam Bartlett
05 James Curtis
06 Ben Clark
07 John Oster
08 Phil Turnbull
09 Jon Shaw (14 James Brown, 71 mins)
10 Lewis Guy (23 Alex Rodman, 57 mins)
11 Carl Finnigan
15 Tom Allan
16 Craig Baxter
19 Michael Rankine (12 Ramshaw, 82 mins)
Substitutes not used:
03 Ryan Wilson
13 Alex Baird
Gateshead - Jon Shaw (8 and 13)
Gateshead -Jon Shaw (30 mins, foul on Dan Gray)
Attendance breakdown: 1,259 including 34 from Alfreton
Man of the Match: Tom Shaw
Referee: Wayne Barrett of Bromsgrove