20 March 2012
Dave Pursglove and Bill Wheatcroft's match picture album here
A MASSIVE Impact Arena crowd witnessed a breathless attacking display from both sides in this memorable derby on Tuesday night.
It was the biggest home attendance since Alfreton Town famously drew 1-1 with Third Division Barrow in the first of four FA Cup ties in November 1969, which attracted 4066 back in the days when the stadium was known as the Town Ground.
And although not all attendances in the early sixties were recorded it may well have been the best for a home League game since Matlock Town visited for a Central Alliance game in April 1960 and the record of 5023 was established.
Seven goals emerged from a non-stop frenzied first half in which Alfreton twice took the lead, only to find themselves trailing 2-4 by the 43rd minute.
There was late drama just before the kick-off when Seamus Conneely fell ill and had to be replaced by Theo Streete, who was making his first start since being knocked out at Lincoln City ten days earlier, but the defender needed replacing himself by Greg Young at half-time.
And it was Streete who was asked to make the first incisive tackle as former Reds' midfielder Anthony Howell played Ross Dyer through in the second minute, then a glaring miss by Louis Briscoe in the fifth minute was punished 60 seconds later when Jake Moult put Alfreton ahead.
A simple cross from Nathan Jarman on the left found its way through to the back post for Moult to head home from just inside the six-yard box, then two minutes later Stags' keeper Alan Marriott pulled off a superb save from Moult after Jarman's shot had been blocked.
Mansfield were level on 17 minutes when Howell swept the ball in from close range after Reds' keeper Jon Stewart had parried at full stretch from Matt Green and Lindon Meikle's follow-up had been blocked.
A vital touch by Stewart prevented Dyer from connecting with a Briscoe cross, then Anton Brown sent Nathan Arnold on a dazzling 50 yard run before dragging his shot wide.
Alfreton had restored their lead by the 21st minute when the alert Jarman thumped the loose ball between the keeper's legs from ten yards, as attentions were diverted when the referee waved aside penalty appeals after Anthony Wilson had been sandwiched between two defenders.
Stewart turned behind a strong 23rd minute drive by Briscoe, then moments later a 40 yard pass from Darran Kempson sent Paul Clayton skipping clear down the left flank, but unfortunately his final effort was way off target.
Clayton then headed wide from an Arnold cross before the striker was denied by a parry from Marriott, but when the loose ball fell kindly to Anthony Wilson his miskick returned it innocuously to the Mansfield keeper.
The visitors were level again in the 31st minute when a long raking throw from Exodus Geohaghon allowed Martin Riley to head past Stewart from close range, and the Stags swept ahead two minutes later when Green converted a right-wing corner with a simple back post header.
Wilson headed on to the crossbar in the 35th minute, but the wind was taken out of Alfreton's sails on 43 minutes when Howell spectacularly lashed the ball in from 20 yards to send the hefty Mansfield contingent behind that goal ecstatic.
Alreton still managed to reduce the deficit to 3-4 in the third minute of first half added time when Marriott failed to hold Jarman's free-kick and Brown followed up from close range.
The second half was tame by comparison with Clayton and Moult firing wide from 20 yards and a promising central run by Arnold petering out when confronted by a posse of defenders.
Martin Riley rose to meet a 79th minute corner with a back post header but Reds' sub Adam Cunnington blocked on the line, then Marriott saved Arnold's low drive from a Josh Law free-kick.
Mansfield's fifth goal arrived in the 88th minute when Geohaghon scrambled the ball in with his knee at the back post from a corner that had been conceded by Law's timely challenge to divert Green's shot following a swift break upfield.
The scoring was completed as the clock ticked into the fifth minute of stoppage time, with Green racing clear from Matt Rhead's through-ball to produce a slick finish.
Alfreton Town Team:
Stewart, Law, Franklin, Streete (Young h/t), Kempson, Jarman (Mullan 72), Moult, Brown, Clayton (Cunnington 72), A Wilson.
Substitutes not used: Franks, Deverdics.
Mansfield Town Team:
Alan Marriott, Martin Riley, Luke O'Neill, Ritchie Sutton, Exodus Geohaghan, Adam Murray, Anthony Howell, Louis Briscoe, Matt Green, Ross Dyer, Lindon Meikle (Matt Rhead 70).
Substitutes not used: Shane Redmond, Danny Andrew, Gary Roberts, Ben Hutchinson.
Attendance breakdown: 3,354 including 1,956 from Mansfield
Alfreton Town - Jake Moult (6), Nathan Jarman (21), Anton Brown (45+3)
Mansfield Town - Anthony Howell (17 and 43), Martin Riley (31), Matt Green (33 and 90+4), Exodus Geohaghan (89)
Alfreton Town - Greg Young (59, foul on Anthony Howell)
Man of the Match: Darran Kempson
Referee: Mr Darren Bond of Burscough