08 October 2013
Dave Pursglove's Chester match picture album here
Alfreton Town's proud home record was shattered by Chester on Tuesday night by a solitary goal that has seen the Reds slip to tenth spot in the Skrill Premier.
Perhaps more worrying for manager Nicky Law will have been the sight of striker Danny Wishart limping out of the game with a hamstring problem and defender Michael Wylde clutching his shoulder as he left the pitch.
Already down to the bare bones, and consequently able to name only four substitutes, the Reds had not previously been beaten at the Impact Arena in ten Conference Premier games stretching back to April 6th when relegated Stockport County had triumphed.
Connor Franklin was recalled at left-back with Lathaniel Rowe-Turner shifting to the centre of the Alfreton defence to cover for the suspended Nick Fenton, while Daniel Meadows took Josh Law's place in midfield.
Wishart resumed his partnership up front with Job Ayo Akinde, having replaced Paul Clayton very early against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday, and when he pulled up injured just nine minutes into the second half younger brother Sammy joined Akinde up front.
There have been several occasions in the past of Alfreton fielding brothers - even three of them over a decade ago when the Heath clan were in Town - but this was thought to be the first time that sibling strikers had been seen at the club.
The first-ever meeting between the two teams saw Chester on the defensive early on with two goal-line clearances necessary in the opening four minutes, John McGrath's inswinging corner spotted late in flight by keeper John Danby, then Wishart's angled drive hacked clear by Michael Kay after a darting run.
With 15 minutes elapsed it was the Reds' turn to rely on a last ditch clearance when Bradley Wood scooped Jamie Reed's effort off the line after Ross Atkins had parried a George Horan header.
It was a complete mystery how a penalty failed to be awarded when Horan bowled Akinde over well inside the area after 18 minutes, but the referee brought play back to the edge of the area where the initial infringement had occurred and John McGrath uncharacteristically wasted the free-kick.
Horan hastily conceded a corner when Tom Shaw's by-line cross threatened to leave Wishart with a simple conversion in the 31st minute, then two minutes later Chester struck the killer blow that was to prove to be the points clincher.
Lewis Turner's cross from the right was met at close range with a firm header from Reed and despite Rowe-Turner's best efforts on the line the on-loan defender could only help the ball into the net.
A low drive from Akinde from the right edge of the area was held by Danby as the interval beckoned, then a Dan Bradley thunderbolt was parried by the keeper before the busy Horan blocked Akinde's follow-up.
Alfreton were on the back foot for most of the second half, mainly having to deal with numerous corners and free-kicks which featured direct deliveries into the goalmouth from Kevin McIntyre, but the Reds' best move on 71 minutes raised hopes.
Wood found space on the right before crossing to Job Ayo Akinde, whose header was parried by Danby before Sammy Akinde was ruled offside, then right at the end McGrath summed up Alfreton's frustration by firing inches over the bar from Sammy Akinde's tee-up.
Alfreton Town Team:
01 Ross Atkins
05 Michael Wylde (06 Darran Kempson, 83 mins)
03 Connor Franklin
02 Bradley Wood
21 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
10 Dan Bradley
17 John McGrath
08 Tom Shaw
12 Daniel Meadows (07 Josh Law, 70 mins)
13 Daniel Wishart (22 Samuel Akinde - 55 mins)
18 Job Ayo Akinde
Substitute not used:
19 Jack Andrews
01 John Danby
20 Lee Pugh (03 Joe Heath, 85 mins)
04 George Horan (c)
12 Lewis Turner
02 Michael Kay
05 Paul Linwood
06 Danny Harrison
14 Kevin McIntyre
11 Craig Lindfield (15 Nathan Turner, 90+3 mins)
22 Alex Titchiner
07 Jamie Reed (19 Gareth Seddon, 89 mins)
Substitutes not used:
26 Jonathon Atkinson
09 Ben Mills
Goal: Jamie Reed (Chester) 33 mins
Alfreton Town - Bradley Wood, Samuel Akinde.
Chester - John Danby, Paul Linwood, Danny Harrison
Man of the Match: Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
Referee: Adrian Holmes of Castleford