30 August 2014
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Alfreton Town's frustrating start to the season - their worst in decades - has seen them lose all six games during August, with manager Nicky Law serving a six-game stadium suspension throughout the same period.
Law will be back in charge in time for next Saturday's difficult trip to top-of-the-table Barnet, but may have to wait until the home game against Altrincham three days later to kick-start the Reds' campaign.
Alfreton introduced their latest signing Andi Thanoj into midfield, and for the first hour matched Braintree only to fall away tamely once the Essex side had established a 64th minute lead.
Successive Tom Shaw corners in the 12th minute led to the visitors breaking swiftly, but Jordan Cox let the Reds off the hook when he scuffed his shot wide upon confrontation with home keeper Cameron Dawson.
Dawson comfortably held another Cox effort at his near post on 14 minutes, then five minutes further on Alfreton responded with Jake Sheridan's low drive deflected behind for another corner, which led to central defender Luke Graham blazing over from close range.
A 25 yard free-kick from Dan Sparkes was held by Dawson then Lee Stevenson went close for the Reds from a similar distance, the first half concluding with Shaw's free-kick almost curling in before another delivery from the midfielder was headed into the side-netting by Dan Bradley.
Another Shaw free-kick on 56 minutes led to Jordan Keane's header being tipped over by Braintree keeper Nick Hamann, then successive shots from Stevenson and Bradley were charged down on the edge of the area.
Graham's header drifted wide from a Shaw free-kick in the 62nd minute, but two minutes later Alfreton succumbed to a corner for the sixth time in six games, on this occasion allowing Kenny Davis to loop a header over Dawson from a Sparkes delivery.
The Reds were stifled by the visitors defending and were unable to make further inroads, so the second goal ten minutes from time settled the issue with Sparkes latching on to a loose ball following a long throw from Sam Habergham to rifle home from 12 yards, despite the young keeper's best efforts to prevent it crossing the line.
Bradley cut in from the left on 89 minutes but frustratingly fired high and wide, then in the fifth minute of added time sub Paul Clayton headed over from a Bradley Wood cross.
Alfreton Town Team:
20 Cameron Dawson
03 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
10 Dan Bradley
02 Bradley Wood
15 Jordan Keane
05 Luke Graham
21 Andi Thanoj (17 Massiah McDonald, 73 mins)
12 Tom Shaw
08 Lee Stevenson (07 Nathan Hicks, 77 mins)
14 Jake Sheridan
18 Joe Ironside (09 Paul Clayton, 82 mins)
Substitutes not used:
16 Dan Gray
Braintree Town Team:
01 Nick Hamann
02 Mitch Brundle
20 Remy Clerima
03 Sam Habergham
06 Alan Massey
11 Dan Sparkes
08 Kenny Davis
26 James Mulley
04 Chez Isaacs
18 Jordan Cox (09 Sean Marks, 72 mins)
07 Dan Walker (15 Simeon Akinola, 71 mins)
Substitutes not used:
14 Steven Smith
29 Carl Pentney
Braintree Town - Kenny Davis (64), Dan Sparkes (80)
Alfreton Town - Bradley Wood (57 mins, foul on Dan Sparkes), Jordan Keane (37 mins, foul on James Mulley)
Braintree Town - Mitch Brundle (43 mins, foul on Dan Bradley)
Man of the Match: Tom Shaw
Referee: Nigel Lugg