20 February 2016
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Alfreton Town’s outside hopes of putting a run together to challenge for a play-off place were dented by a 1-1 draw at home to relegation-fighting Corby Town at the Impact Arena.
The Reds had led from the 19th minute when Todd Jordan headed home his first goal for the club but they were made to pay for not taking any more of several chances when the visitors grabbed an equaliser in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the second half.
Despite being held to a draw, Alfreton extended their unbeaten run since Christmas to 12 League and Cup games, but could not disguise their disappointment at the final whistle.
Fielding an unchanged side from the victory at FC United of Manchester seven days earlier the Reds pressed for an early advantage in blustery, damp conditions with both Dan Bradley and Sam Jones having shots blocked from Joe Leesley's eighth minute swirling free-kick which visiting keeper Sam Donkin spilled.
However, the first danger had come from a back header by Tom Allan which had Reds keeper Matt Duke scrambling to save low down having chosen to go the opposite way.
The first shot of the game came from Lindon Meikle on six minutes but his 20 yarder was easy meat for visiting keeper Sam Donkin.
In reply Corby broke and Greg Mills got a shot away from the edge of the penalty area but Reds keeper Matt Duke was untroubled.
Sam Jones got up well to flick on a header but after Dan Bradley latched on to it he was crowded out before he was able to feed the waiting Jamie Jackson beyond the far post.
Former Reds favourite Anton Brown tried to force a way through the home defence before falling over.
Alfreton hit back to win the first corner of the game on 14 minutes when Bradley’s cross was deflected behind. The flag kick was headed clear by another ex Red, Duane Courtney, and Dan Bradley’s excellent 30 yard chip-shot over the keeper was inches too high and hit the top of the bar.
Sam Jones’s strength carried him past two defenders in the visiting area but his pull back was blocked by Donkin before being cleared as Alfreton began to dominate.
Two more corners came and went the second one producing the game’s first goal on 19 minutes.
Joe Leesley’s flag kick from the right ended with Todd Jordan climbing highest at the far post to power home a header.
A superb ball from Jamie Jackson set up Lindon Meikle but his clipped effort was deflected behind for a fourth Reds corner.
From the flag kick Corby’s vulnerability showed again but after they once again failed to clear Jackson smashed a shot well wide of the target.
Corby hit back to win a free kick deep in Alfreton territory but former Derby County player Greg Mills over-hit the effort and it sailed out beyond the far post then a shot from Cleveland Taylor was easily saved by Duke on 35 minutes.
Alfreton responded again and after a fast-flowing move, Bradley cut in from the right but fired over at the second attempt.
Duane Courtney picked up the game’s first yellow card of the game on 37 minutes for a calculated foul which stopped Jamie Jackson from progressing.
Reds keeper Duke got down well to keep out a curling 25 yard free kick from Taylor on 42 minutes as Corby continued to piece together some pacy counter attacks and another one brought a free kick on the right from which a neatly worked routine almost got the visitors in round the back of the home defence but the Reds cleared their lines.
As the next ball came in both Tom Allan and Chris Moyo required treatment after clashing heads just before half time.
The visitors had a let off on 50 minutes when Joe Leesley’s free kick in from the right sped through the six yard box with no Reds player able to get a final touch on it.
Jamie Jackson was sent away down the left by Meikle but after beating his man, his curling shot fell a couple of yards the wrong side of the far post.
Another Reds corner from the right by Leesley again went through the area with Tom Allan just unable to get on the end of it at the far post.
Corby put together an attacking flurry of their own but were certainly aided by some wayward home defending and Ben Milnes had a shot charged down on the edge of the area.
A brilliant sliding challenge from Leesley stopped Nathan Evans from getting a shot away in a dangerous area as Corby continued to look for an equaliser.
Alfreton created a great chance for a second goal on 64 minutes when Meikle broke to feed Sam Jones but the top scorer dragged his shot well wide of the far post.
Bradley then produced a lovely ball over the top for Jones whose shot was blocked for a corner by Donkin.
The corner count continued to rack up and from Leesley’s next flag kick saw a diving header from Allan cleared by Ellis Myles before the visitors made a double change on 68 minutes.
Anton Brown replaced by Ryan Robbins and Nathan Evans replaced by another former Alfreton player, striker Massiah McDonald.
Corby constructed another decent forward forage which culminated in Taylor’s powerful shot hitting
his own player then at the other end Jones was denied on 75 minutes by a fine save by Donkin who kept out a firm low 18 yard shot.
Corby’s Edi Appleton was booked for a foul on Jackson on 77 minutes then Lindon Meikle was booked for tripping McDonald a minute later before Jackson was replaced by Andi Thanoj in the same minute as Reds boss Nicky Law made his only change of the game.
Ryan Robbins had a free kick blocked away by Leesley who also blocked the follow up shot.
Corby equalised in the first minute of added time when Jones lost possession deep in the visiting half, the ball was quickly transferred to the opposite end of the pitch and eventually ricocheted through to Ben Milnes who buried a shot high into the net from six yards out.
It was perhaps no more than Corby’s steely efforts deserved but left Alfreton deflated at seeing the game out for a victory.
Alfreton Town Team:
01 Matt Duke
02 Cliff Moyo
03 Todd Jordan
04 Tom Allan
05 Niall Heaton
06 Cecil Nyoni
07 Joe Leesley
08 Lindon Meikle
09 Sam Jones
10 Jamie Jackson (Andi Thanoj, 78 mins)
11 Dan Bradley ©
Substitutes not used:
Corby Town Team:
01 Sam Donkin
02 Ellis Myles
03 Kalern Thomas
04 Duane Courtney
05 Edi Appleton
06 Anton Brown (Ryan Robbins, 68 mins)
07 Greg Mills
08 Cleveland Taylor ©
09 Nathan Evans (Massiah McDonald, 68 mins)
10 Ben Milnes
11 Nathan Hicks
Substitutes not used:
Luke Reay (GK)
Alfreton Town – Todd Jordan (19)
Corby Town – Ben Milnes (90+1)
Alfreton Town – Lindon Meikle (78 mins, foul on Massiah McDonald)
Corby Town – Duane Courtney (37 mins, foul on Jamie Jackson), Eddie Appleton (77 mins, foul on Jamie Jackson)
Man of the Match: Jamie Jackson
Referee: Scott Oldham