26 March 2016
Match picture album courtesy of Eric Gregory and Anthony Siddall here
Alfreton Town were denied victory by a late Gloucester City equaliser for the second time this season.
As with the earlier fixture between the sides, Alfreton led for a large portion of the game but were denied this time by an 88th minute strike by Tom Webb after Sam Smith had given Nicky Law’s side a 30th minute lead.
The leveller was no more than Gloucester deserved though this time as they had dominated much of the second half and been kept at bay by several fine saves from keeper Matt Duke.
Indeed, it was a hard-earned point for both sides with a powerful City side particularly unyielding in defence.
The result left the Reds looking for a first win in six league games.
Unfortunately, latest signing, striker Jamie McDonagh was unavailable for the game due to his partner having given birth. Leading scorer Sam Jones missed out through the first of a three-game suspension and both Cliff Moyo and Brad McGowan were still injured.
In a game made difficult by a strong, swirling wind, the early play was dominated by midfield with several free-kick stoppages.
Gloucester had the first half-chance as Chris Knowles chased a through-ball down the middle but Reds keeper Matt Duke raced out to tip it clear although the whistle had gone for a foul.
A mix-up in the home defence gave Gloucester a second corner in as many minutes as Edward Williams looked to break through down the left but Alfreton again cleared their lines.
Sam Smith got up well to flick on a Duke kick but Dan Bradley found himself muscled out of the chase by central defender Sam Avery.
Gloucester’s direct style caused problems and they hit back to win their third corner before City almost got in on 20 minutes but as Colby Bishop turned sharply in the penalty area, Julian Banton produced a timely clearance.
Alfreton produced the game’s first real raid on 22 minutes with Lindon Meikle breaking down the right, setting up Cecil Nyoni on the edge of the area. He miskicked but the ball ran behind him to Bradley and he produced the first shot on target with his 18-yuard curling effort comfortably saved by Jasbir Singh in the visiting goal.
Louis Robles had Gloucester’s first shot on 25 minutes but after his initial effort was blocked by Joe Leesley, the City man could only hurriedly scuff his second effort well wide.
A neat City move saw Bishop set up Robles for a clean shot from just inside the area from which Duke went full length to keep out. From the follow up, Leesley blocked Williams’ effort.
Alfreton Town took the lead on 30 minutes when Meikle did well to get past three defenders and reverse the ball back into Sam Smith’s pass and he produced a lovely clipped effort over oncoming keeper Singh from eight yards out.
The Reds finished the half strongly with Bradley prominent down the right having switched flanks but he swapped again and cut in from the left before firing narrowly wide on 43 minutes.
Gloucester began the second half at increased tempo but it was Alfreton who threatened through Meikle and Smith at the start of the second half with the former getting the ball in square across the penalty area but Smith seeing his attempted shot charged down at close quarters.
Gloucester went close on 50 minutes with a deep free kick by Billy Jones from the left picking out Bishop but his firm header from eight yards out was tipped over the top by Duke for a corner.
A strong piece of defending by Leesley prevented Robles from getting a shot away as the pair chased onto a Knowles through ball.
In reply, a Leesley free kick carried far too much weight for Niall Heaton coming in unmarked around the back of the defence before Sam Smith picked up the game’s first yellow card when he was booked for a foul on Knowles on 55 minutes.
Duke produced a great save on 58 minutes to keep out a low shot from Tom Webb and Leesley did well to block the follow up shot from Bishop for a corner.
Gloucester again threatened to get in around the back but after Bishop had gone past Jordan, Heaton stuck out a leg to divert the cross away from goal.
Gloucester continued to impress with balls into the channels and they carved another chance on 65 minutes when Knowles blazed over the top when unmarked from eight yards out and minutes later Webb fired straight into the arms of Duke.
Gloucester made their first change on 78 minutes with Lewis Hall coming on for Calvin Dinsley but a minute later Alfreton were indebted to Matt Duke again with the Reds keeper plunging low to his right to keep out a powerful down ward header from Bishop from another City corner.
Alfreton made the first change of the game with Joe Doyle replacing Lindon Meikle on 71 minutes as the Reds struggled to find any sort of cohesion between defence and midfield.
City brought on Luke Hopper for Edward Williams on 81 minutes and continued to press strongly and Bradley was booked for a foul on Avery a minute later.
City had big appeals for a penalty waved aside when Bishop hooked the ball inside the penalty area, the ball appearing to strike Leesley in the face before going behind for a corner.
Alfreton broke down the left and lovely play ended with Bradley’s low shot turned away by Singh.
Reds manager Law made his final change with Jamie Jackson making way for Tom Allan on 87 minutes as the hosts sought to make sure of the points on 86 minutes.
However, Gloucester gained a deserved equaliser on 88 minutes when the Reds defence failed to clear and Tom Webb smashed home a low shot from 18 yards into the bottom right corner.
The home camp had grievances over fouls on both Nyoni and Leesley in the build up to the goal but it had been coming to be fair.
Sensing victory, Gloucester poured forward for the last few minutes but were repelled by an anxious home side who are now without a home win in their last six outings at the Impact Arena.
Alfreton Town Team:
01 Matt Duke
02 Andi Thanoj
03 Julian Banton
04 Todd Jordan
05 Niall Heaton
06 Cecil Nyoni
07 Joe Leesley
08 Lindon Meikle (Joe Doyle-Charles, 71 mins)
09 Jamie Jackson (Tom Allan, 86 mins)
10 Sam Smith
11 Dan Bradley (c)
Substitutes not used:
Gloucester City Team:
01 Jasbir Singh
02 Michael Green
03 Billy Jones
04 Robbie Cundy
05 Sam Avery
06 Calvin Dinsley (Lewis Hall, 78 mins)
07 Tom Webb (c)
08 Chris Knowles
09 Colby Bishop
10 Louis Robles (Omari Sterling-James, 87 mins)
11 Edward Williams (Luke Hopper, 81 mins)
Substitutes not used:
Alfreton Town – Sam Smith (30)
Gloucester City – Tom Webb (88)
Alfreton Town – Sam Smith (55, foul on Chris Knowles), Dan Bradley 82 (foul on Billy Jones)
Gloucester City - None.
Man of the Match: Matt Duke
Referee: Alf Greenwood of York