18 April 2014
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Two crucial decisions that went against Alfreton Town in their televised home game against Grimsby Town on Good Friday ultimately cost the Reds their last lingering hope of a Skrill Premier play-off place.
The cameras proved that the second goal of Ross Hannah's hat-trick should have been ruled off-side, just nine minutes after Alfreton had levelled the game at 1-1, then right at the end Aswad Thomas handled Job Ayo Akinde's shot on the goal-line without a penalty being awarded.
On the positive side though, apart from this being the Reds' first point against Grimsby in six attempts, the footballing nation was given a visual treat once the game eventually started 78 minutes late after the visitors' coach had been stuck in gridlocked North Derbyshire following an horrendous accident on the M1 earlier.
Early exchanges favoured the home side but the Mariners poached a seventh minute lead when Hannah ran through to catch skipper for the day Jon Worsnop in two minds, his shot trickling into the net from an acute angle after the Reds' keeper had failed to stop the ball with his outstretched foot.
Worsnop went a long way towards making amends though seven minutes later with a Gordon Banks type save low to his left after a powerful header by Lenell John-Lewis from a Scott Kerr free-kick had bounced just in front of him.
Chaos reigned from the ensuing corner though with Akinde attempting to head Kerr's flag-kick back out of play, only for the ball to rebound off Josh Law beyond the back post before nestling in Worsnop's arms.
Grimsby keeper James McKeown had to stretch to flap clear an awkward Daniel Meadows cross, but Alfreton were level by the 24th minute from the slickest move of the game initiated by the scorer Law in his own half.
Akinde's quick return pass allowed Law to spray the ball out wide to Meadows, and his cross saw Grimsby defender Sam Hatton inadvertently tee it up under pressure from Paul Clayton for Law to finish the move by lashing the ball into the roof of the net from 12 yards.
In the 28th minute Akinde was foiled at close range by McKeown from a Michael Hoganson cross, but after a good spell from the Reds they were rocked in the 33rd minute when Hannah ran on to John-Lewis' pass from an offiside position to turn the ball in from close range and give Grimsby a debatable 2-1 lead.
Alfreton had restored parity once again by the 51st minute though when Grimsby skipper Shaun Pearson upended Akinde as he ran into the area from Dan Bradley's through-ball, the striker dusting himself down to take the penalty himself and score with a confident shot into the corner of the net.
It was Akinde's 18th League and Cup goal of the season and his fifth in the last five games, and he almost set up a third goal for the Reds eight minutes later by picking out Clayton on the edge of the area, but his lay-off was swept wide by Law.
Pearson's long-range header rebounded off the crossbar in the 69th minute, but within 60 seconds Grimsby led for the third time after Darran Kempson was judged to have tugged back Pearson just inside the area and Hannah duly completed his treble from the spot.
Paddy McLaughlin hooked over Scott Neilson's cross at the back post with 13 minutes remaining, then at the other end moments later Tom Shaw's low drive from 18 yards had to be turned aside at full stretch by McKeown before Bradley blazed over.
Alfreton were rewarded with a third equaliser in the 80th minute when Clayton pounced on a wayward defensive header from Thomas to stroke the ball past McKeown from six yards, the move stemming from a partially cleared Law corner that was headed back into the target area by Lathaniel Rowe-Turner.
Hatton escaped with a handball on the edge of the area two minutes later that passed unpunished, then Akinde fired just wide after playing a neat one-two with Law as Alfreton finished the game in the ascendancy, but further controversy was not far away.
With the fourth official about to indicate added time Akinde took a return pass from Bradley to hammer the ball towards goal from eight yards, with Thomas clearly stretching out an arm to divert it and deprive the Reds of an opportunity for a late winner with no response from the referee.
Alfreton Town Team:
15 Jon Worsnop
25 Andrai Jones
02 Bradley Wood
07 Josh Law
06 Darran Kempson
21 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
12 Daniel Meadows (08 Tom Shaw, 60 mins)
10 Daniel Bradley
09 Paul Clayton (24 Shaun Harrad, 89 mins)
18 Job Ayo Akinde
26 Michael Hoganson (23 Godfrey Poku, 83 mins)
Substitutes not used:
03 Connor Franklin
04 Chris Westwood
Grimsby Town Team:
13 James McKeown
02 Sam Hatton
03 Aswad Thomas
04 Scott Kerr
05 Shaun Pearson
30 Andrew Boyce
26 Paddy McLaughlin
18 Andi Thanoj
17 Ross Hannah
14 Lenell John-Lewis (09 Andy Cook, 81 mins)
11 Scott Neilson
Substitutes not used:
07 Joe Colbeck
12 Clayton McDonald
27 Jamal Fyfield
28 Oumare Tounkara
Alfreton Town – Josh Law (24), Job Ayo Akinde (51, penalty), Paul Clayton (80)
Grimsby Town – Ross Hannah (7, 33 & 70 penalty)
Alfreton Town – Bradley Wood (19 mins, foul on Scott Kerr), Job Ayo Akinde (34 mins foul on Andrew Boyce), Darran Kempson (64 mins, foul on Ross Hannah)
Grimsby Town – Lenell John-Lewis (38 mins, foul on Andrai Jones), Shaun Pearson (51 mins, foul on Job Ayo Akinde), Ross Hannah (70, unsporting conduct).
Attendance breakdown: 1,771 including 1,063 from Grimsby
Man of the Match: Job Ayo Akinde
Referee: Peter Bankes of Liverpool