30 September 2014
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Statistics will show that Alfreton Town enjoyed far more possession than high-flying FC Halifax Town at the lmpact Arena on Tuesday night, yet they ended up losing 2-0 and plunging back into the Vanarama Conference drop zone.
On a night that fluent, often attractive football was displayed by the Reds, without necessarily overworking visiting keeper Matty Glennon, they were still undone by Halifax's no-nonsense approach and two long throws from Marc Roberts that led to two undefended headers.
Nicky Law made three changes from the Dover defeat at the weekend, Chris Smith - who broke a finger at Dover - was replaced at the heart of the defence by returning club skipper Duane Courtney, who had missed several games through injury, whilst Andi Thanoj and Dan Bradley returned to midfield with Tom Shaw and Anthony Howell dropping to the bench.
Bradley Wood just failed to pick out Joe lronside, Thanoj saw his 30 yarder held by Glennon and David Mellor's shot was deflected behind as Alfreton started with promise.
Successive efforts from Mellor and Karl Hawley were blocked before Halifax's first attack in the 11th minute that needed a good save from Cameron Dawson to keep out Scott Boden's shot after Danny Hattersley had flicked on a Glennon free-kick.
Just one minute later Halifax poached the lead when Roberts' throw led to Adam Smith crossing to the far post, where Simon Ainge headed firmly past Dawson from eight yards.
Hattersley then headed into the side netting from a Smith free-kick, then both Wood and Bradley went close as Alfreton began to respond, but it took until the 36th minute for a clear chance to materialise.
A short Mellor corner was played to Thanoj and his angled drive struck a defender before being scooped off the line belatedly by Glennon, then moments later a deep Wood cross landed on the roof of the net.
Jordan Keane went close from distance and Luke Graham headed wide from a Thanoj free-kick as Alfreton ended the first half positively, but just nine minutes after the break they conceded that crucial second goal.
Another long throw was directed to Boden eight yards out at the near post, and the former Reds' loanee striker was able to head into the corner of the net with a degree of simplicity.
Bradley's free-kick saw Graham head wide again, then on 57 minutes Keane scuffed a decent opportunity wide after Mellor had sent Lathaniel Rowe-Turner to the by-line.
At the mid-point of the second half a Mellor corner led to Graham's header setting up Joe Ironside for a weak shot, then Courtney's timely tackle prevented Hattersley from snatching a third for Halifax.
Dawson dealt with Richard Peniket's 76th minute effort after a protracted run, then three minutes later at the other end Benny lgiehon could only trouble the side-netting after a promising sortie by Mellor.
Thanoj fired wide from 25 yards and Howell's added-time cross sailed through the box unhindered as Alfreton refused to give up, but despite all their hard work once again they had nothing to savour at the end.
Alfreton Town Team:
20 Cameron Dawson
02 Bradley Wood
05 Luke Graham (11 Anthony Howell, 81 mins)
04 Duane Courtney
03 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
10 Dan Bradley
15 Jordan Keane
21 Andi Thanoj
24 David Mellor
23 Karl Hawley (09 Paul Clayton, 84 mins)
18 Joe Ironside (19 Benny Igiehon, 72mins)
Substitutes not used:
12 Tom Shaw
17 Massiah McDonald
FC Halifax Town Team:
27 Matt Glennon
15 Kevin Roberts
04 Marc Roberts
14 Steve Williams
03 Scott McManus
05 Matty Pearson
06 Simon Ainge
08 Paul Marshall
07 Adam Smith (12 Richard Peniket ,61 mins)
49 Danny Hattersley (09 Jamie Jackson, 75 mins)
19 Scott Boden
Substitutes not used:
01 Phil Senior (GK)
22 Danny Schofield
28 Jake Hibbs
FC Halifax Town - Simon Ainge (12 mins), Scott Boden (53 mins)
Alfreton Town - David Mellor (30 mins, foul on Paul Marshall)
Man of the Match: Andi Thanoj
Referee: Karl Evans of Wigan