06 April 2013
Bill Wheatcroft and Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Alfreton Town lost out by the odd goal in five at the Impact Arena on Saturday as Stockport County recorded a Blue Square Bet Premier double over the Reds.
However, the Hatters remain below the hosts on the fringe of the drop zone, while Alfreton are still not safe themselves with just four games left to play in the final fortnight of the season.
Daniel Meadows had given the Reds a 21st minute lead with an angled header from the edge of the six yard box following Nathan Arnold's accurate delivery from the left, but Stockport levelled the game through James Tunnicliffe's header from a Jon Nolan corner five minutes before the break.
The visitors led 2-1 by the 48th minute when Mark Cullen steered home a loose ball from almost on the line after Josh Law and keeper Phil Barnes had cleared shots at point-blank range from Cullen and Sam Sheridan in quick succession.
Cullen set up Nolan to thump home the third goal from the edge of the area, but a late strike in added time through Arnold's angled drive after being sent down the left by Law gave the Reds a glimmer of hope.
With Barnes having returned after injury manager Nicky Law took the precaution of naming former Nottingham Forest keeper Ben Gathercole on the bench, then with Leigh Franks pulling up injured in the warm-up son Josh had to be drafted in late before taking over from the injured Anton Brown at the same time as Meadows scored.
Alfreton started with promise as Louie Soares fired over from six yards after the first of eight first half corners had been worked back to him after just 60 seconds, then Stockport's Jordan Fagbola had to block another Soares effort seven minutes later.
Barnes needed to save Cullen's low drive in the 14th minute, then at the other end Brown miskicked in front of goal after Darran Kempson had nodded down a Soares corner.
Meadows fired across the face of goal two minutes later, then as the visitors responded Nolan was well off target from distance.
Barnes tipped over Cullen's rising drive from 16 yards in the 24th minute, with Cullen's celebrations thwarted by an off-side flag as he headed in Nolan's corner, then strong penalty appeals were waved aside as Paul Clayton was bundled over in the area by Tunnicliffe.
On 36 minutes Sheridan had to clear Clayton's header off the line from a Soares corner, then Theo Streete's shot almost deceived Stockport keeper Richard O'Donnell after cannoning off Soares.
At the end of a lively first half Cullen's shot from the edge of the area was held by Barnes, then Law had to clear behind from a Cullen corner.
Adam Quinn headed wide from Soares' 58th minute corner, then Matty Mainwaring was only just wide from 16 yards seconds before Stockport's third goal.
Cullen headed on to the roof of the net from Sean Newton's deep free-kick, then O'Donnell raced out of goal to just beat Arnold as Steven Hewitt played him through in the 69th minute.
Dan Bradley's effort from all of 35 yards needed tipping over from under the angle by O'Donnell with five minutes remaining, then after Arnold's goal Streete's header was also turned over by the keeper as Stockport breathed a sigh of relief before Streete headed just a foot wide and Bradley blazed the last chance way over the top.
Alfreton Town Team:
01 Phil Barnes
05 Adam Quinn
06 Darran Kempson (c)
10 Dan Bradley
16 Jordan Rose (Steven Hewitt, 66 mins)
17 Theo Streete
07 Anton Brown (Josh Law, 22 mins)
08 Louie Soares (Ben Tomlinson, 66 mins)
14 Daniel Meadows
09 Paul Clayton
11 Nathan Arnold
Substitutes not used:
26 Ben Gathercole
20 Ashley Worsfold
Stockport County Team:
13 Richard O'Donnell
03 Sean Newton (c)
06 James Tunnicliffe
20 Jordan Fagbola
08 Alex Kenyon
14 Sam Sheridan
18 Jon Nolan
22 Matty Mainwaring (27 Paul Marshall, 71 mins)
31 Lee Bullock
17 Mark Cullen (32 Brandon Windsor, 71 mins)
23 Jon Macken
Substitutes not used:
01 Ian Ormson
16 Kyle Brownhill
30 Danny Schofield
Alfreton Town - Danny Meadows (21), Nathan Arnold (90)
Stockport County - James Tunnicliffe (40), Mark Cullen (48), Jon Nolan (60)
Attendance breakdown: 1,157 including 504 from Stockport County
Shots on target: Alfreton 10, Stockport County 6
Shots off target: Alfreton 7, Stockport County 8
Corners: Alfreton 14, Stockport County 5
Fouls conceded: Alfreton 8, Stockport County 8
Offside: Alfreton 1, Stockport County 5
Yellow cards: Alfreton 0, Stockport County 0
Man of the Match: Theo Streete
Referee: Paul Rees of Portishead