22 August 2015
Bill Wheatcroft's Match Picture Album here
Alfreton Town are rapidly becoming the draw specialists of the Vanarama National League North, after recording their third successive one at home to Curzon Ashton on Saturday and their fourth from the opening five games.
The Reds appeared to have matters under control when Sam Jones put them in the driving seat after 16 minutes, following up his shot that had rebounded off the far upright after John Johnston's sublime back-heel had helped on an Andi Thanoj through-ball.
However, defensive errors allowed Matthew Warburton and Ryan Brooke to capitalise on 26 and 36 minutes respectively to give the visitors a 2-1 lead, but second half pressure by Alfreton amidst intermittent hail and thunderstorms led to Joe Leesley thumping a loose ball spectacularly into the net from 20 yards with 16 minutes remaining.
Warburton used his loaf when Ryan Wilson failed to clear properly and cracked the equaliser past keeper Matt Duke from twleve yards, then Niall Cummins pounced on the Reds' indecision barely in their own half to send Warburton clear, his shot brilliantly parried by Duke at close range but falling to Brooke for a simple tap-in.
It could be argued that Alfreton missed central defensive pairing Tom Allan and Sam Berry, who were both serving one-match suspensions after being sent off on the opening day, and they certainly had grounds for complaint deep into added time when Curzon keeper Hakan Burton clattered Sam Smith to the ground without being penalised. On another day it would have been a stonewall penalty decision as Smith had already nicked the ball awa from the keeper.
Leesley had failed to test Burton effectively when clear from Cliff Moyo's second minute cross, then Jonathon Hunt blocked as Jones sent Johnston through four minutes later, Johnston then having two further efforts saved by Burton.
Leesley glanced a header wide from Dan Bradley's cross in first half added time, then as Alfreton built up a head of steam approaching the leveller Thanoj was thwarted by another Hunt block and George Grayson flung himself in the way of a Johnston shot from a long Duke clearance.
Both sides battled for the winning goal in the closing stages with Smith heading wide from a deep Moyo free-kick and Leesley winning a corner with a good attempt from distance, whilst at the other end substitute Jason Paling had to tackle back to halt Gary Burnett's progress and Duke needed to save Warburton's angled drive with his legs.
Alfreton Town Team:
1 Matt Duke
2 Todd Jordan
3 Niall Heaton (Sam Smith, 63 mins)
4 Cliff Moyo
5 Stefan Galinski
6 Dan Bradley ©
7 Andi Thanoj
8 Ryan Wilson (Jamie Jackson, 59 mins)
9 Joe Leesley
10 John Johnston (Jason Paling, 81 mins)
11 Sam Jones
Substitutes not used:
14 Joe Ironside
16 Nick Draper
Curzon Ashton Team:
1 Hakan Burton
2 Alex Frost
3 George Grayson
4 Johnathan Hunt
5 Daniel Shaw
6 Joe Guest
7 Ryan Brooke (Jordan Wright, 79 mins)
8 Alex Brown ©
9 Niall Cummins (Gary Burnett, 79 mins)
10 Matthew Warburton
11 Liam Tomsett (Chris Rowney, 83 mins)
Substitutes not used:
15 Simon Lakeland
16 Ben Atkinson
Alfreton Town - Sam Jones (16), Joe Leesley (74)
Curzon Ashton - Matthew Warburton (26), Ryan Brooke (36)
Alfreton Town - None
Curzon Ashton - Joe Guest, 62 minutes for a foul on Todd Jordan; Jordan Wright, 89 minutes for a foul on Sam Jones.
Prize £100, won by number 557
Man of the Match: Joe Leesley
Referee: Declan Ford of Lincoln