24 October 2015
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Alfreton Town's FA Cup exploits ended at Macclesfield Town on Saturday after allowing the hosts to build an early 3-0 lead with a minimum of resistance.
The Reds showed character and fight after conceding the third goal in the 37th minute to take the Silkmen to the wire, claiming huge credit against the National League outfit but, sadly, no lucrative progress.
It was all too easy for Macclesfield as they swept into a 2-0 lead inside seven minutes, with Lindon Meikle and David Fitzpatrick already having had shots blocked before the first goal in the fifth minute.
Danny Whitaker, who was celebrating his 300th game for the home side, delivered a crossfield pass that allowed Kristian Dennis to virtually pick his spot from 16 yards, such was the volume of space he found himself in.
Two minutes later, as Alfreton were still reeling from the simplicity of conceding, Paul Turnbull was allowed a clear header at the back post to convert Meikle's cross, and the visitors already had a mountain to climb.
Matt Duke superbly tipped over an angled drive from Dennis in the 11th minute, then the Reds' keeper saved from Danny Rowe, before Alfreton's first attack ended with Joe Leesley's firmly struck drive looping up off Tony Diagne for a corner, from which Sam Jones headed over.
A further corner saw Tom Allan's back-post header saved by home keeper Shwan Jalal, but Duke then had to save a Dennis free-kick low on his line before Danny Whitehead lashed a good chance wide for Macclesfield in the 36th minute.
Within a minute the score became 3-0 when Whitaker pounced on a lucky rebound off Todd Jordan to feed Dennis, who drilled the ball home with as much ease as the previous two goals.
Suddenly though the Reds switched on the turbo, and just two minutes after conceding the third goal Dan Bradley embarked on a determined run down the right before delivering a peach of a cross for Jones to control 12 yards out and thump past Jalal for 3-1.
Another searing run by Bradley saw his cross flash through the goalmouth, with Ryan Wilson and Jordan Robertson just unable to reach it, but the half ended with Duke again tipping over from Dennis.
Alfreton put Macclesfield under so much pressure after the break, forcing four corners in the first three minutes of the second half, before reducing the arrears further by the 51st minute.
Once again Bradley was the architect after being played through by Jones, his astute cross headed home at the far post by Robertson for his ninth goal in as many games for the Reds.
Leesley twice went close as Macclesfield visibly wobbled, and the tie should have been levelled on 64 minutes when Wilson played a deep one-two with Robertson before racing unchallenged into the area, only to shoot tamely over.
Six minutes later another Leesley effort was punched so powerfully by Jamal that it set up a counter-attack, but Meikle fired high and wide from a gilt-edged position.
Jones, Leesley, Thanoj and Robertson all went close, without actually troubling the keeper, but Alfreton just could not quite summon up that third goal that would have ensured a replay.
Alfreton Town Team:
1. Matt Duke
2. Cliff Moyo
3. Tom Allan
4. Stefan Galinski
5. Ryan Wilson
6. Todd Jordan
7. Sam Jones
8. Joe Leesley
9. Andi Thanoj
10. Dan Bradley
11. Jordan Robertson
Substitutes not used:
Macclesfield Town Team:
Substitutes not used:
Macclesfield Town - Kristian Dennis (5 & 37), Paul Turnbull (7)
Alfreton Town - Sam Jones (39), Jordan Robertson (51)
Macclesfield Town - Diagne  timewasting; Rowe  foul on Duke
Alfreton Town - Jordan Robertson  dissent; Joe Leesley [90+2] foul on Fitzpatrick
Man of the Match: Dan Bradley
Referee: Timothy Wood of Gloucester