10 January 2015
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Alfreton Town scored three goals away from home, yet still managed to lose their FA Trophy second round tie at FC Halifax Town on Saturday.
Goals from Bradley Wood, Lee Stevenson and Tom Shaw each gave the Reds a lead that was squandered, but at least Alfreton have at last scored at The Shay after two previous barren visits.
It was Halifax's third victory over the Reds this season - all by a margin of two goals - having already beaten them 2-0 on both occasions in the Vanarama Conference.
The only change from the 1-1 draw at Torquay United was Andi Thanoj, who had rescued a point for the Reds with that late, memorable goal in Devon six days earlier, coming off the bench to replace the injured Dan Bradley in the starting line-up.
Wood needed just three minutes and ten seconds to float John Johnston's cross over home keeper Matty Glennon from wide right and give Alfreton an early lead, but George Willis was soon busy at the other end fielding efforts from Paul Marshall and Adam Smith.
How Halifax failed to equalise in the 19th minute remains a mystery after Willis had committed himself to chasing a Marshall through-ball out to the touch-line, where Scott McManus left the Reds' keeper stranded as he delivered the cross.
However Scott Boden smashed the ball against the crossbar of an unguarded net, and by the time Lois Maynard had latched on to the rebound Luke Graham was able to divert the shot behind.
Moments later Willis atoned by tipping over a rasper from Boden before fumbling Smith's corner, but by the 28th minute Halifax were back on level terms.
As on many occasions this season Alfreton failed to defend a corner, which was played back to Smith before finding Steve Williams at the back post - even then the initial header struck the upright before Williams stabbed the loose ball over the line from close range.
Three minutes later Stevenson just failed to steer Karl Hawley's pass home at the far post, then the same player went close from a move initiated by Johnston.
Alfreton enjoyed a good spell and Johnston was buzzing with a series of menacing runs, one of which in the 37th minute again picked out Stevenson, only for him to blaze over from ten yards.
Amends were made four minutes from half-time though when Anthony Howell's cross from the left was headed past Glennon by Stevenson from eight yards at the back post, but the lead was short-lived with Halifax level again by the 44th minute.
This time it was a long throw by Marc Roberts that caught the Reds out, Richard Peniket heading home off the underside of the bar to send the teams into the interval sharing four goals.
Snow flurries greeted the players as they emerged from their break, and six minutes into the second half a familiar pattern emerged as Alfreton led for a third time when Shaw thumped a Thanoj through-ball past Glennon from just inside the area to send the Reds' fans dancing with delight once again.
However, it turned out to be a last tango in Halifax for them as three goals in a ten minute spell curtailed the drama, the game tied at 3-3 on the hour when Peniket was allowed the freedom of the park to embark on a long run before slotting past Willis from 18 yards.
Chris Smith had replaced injured Duane Courtney at the heart of the defence, having been out of action since late September, and managed to block Danny Schofield's 61st minute shot as Halifax went for the jugular.
James Bolton was then denied by an acrobatic save from Willis, but the hosts nudged 4-3 ahead on 64 minutes when Peniket completed his hat-trick with a simple tap-in after Schofield had forced the ball over from the left.
Johnston and Hawley went close in token resistance, but the final goal twenty minutes from time proved harder to recover from, Willis unfortunate to concede an own goal after Schofield's free-kick had struck the foot of the post and rebounded into the net off the keeper.
Alfreton Town Team:
01 George Wills
02 Bradley Wood
03 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
04 Duane Courtney (06 Chris Smith)
05 Luke Graham (c)
12 Tom Shaw
21 Andi Thanoj (15 Jordan Keane)
27 John Johnston
08 Lee Stevenson
23 Karl Hawley
11 Anthony Howell (07 Nathan Hicks)
Substitutes not used:
FC Halifax Town Team:
Marc Roberts (c)
Paul Marshall (Matty Pearson)
Richard Peniket (Ross Dyer)
Adam Smith (Sam Hillhouse)
Subtitutes not used:
FC Halifax Town - Steve Williams (28), Richard Peniket (44, 60 & 64), George Willis (own goal, 71)
Alfreton Town - Bradley Wood (4), Lee Stevenson (41) and Tom Shaw (51)
FC Halifax Town - Paul Marshall
Alfreton Town - Andi Thanoj, Chris Smith, Karl Hawley
Attendance breakdown: 949 including 49 from Alfreton
Man of the Match: Tom Shaw
Referee: Darren England of Barnsley