15 March 2014
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Alfreton Town flirted briefly with second spot in the Skrill Premier on Saturday - their highest ever position - but then came the news that they had been deducted three points for fielding an ineligible player in the 3-1 win at Kidderminster Harriers a fortnight before Christmas.
Far worse though was the horrendous injury suffered by Michael Wylde just before half-time, which resulted in the defender fracturing both tibia and fibia as well as being shown a yellow card for the tackle on John Rooney as he was being stretchered off, the incident leading to manager Nicky Law being sent off by referee Darren England.
Putting aside the problems, that also saw Andrai Jones join Connor Franklin on the injured list, Alfreton stuck to their task to win 1-0 courtesy of a Shaun Harrad penalty midway through the second half before successfully closing out the game.
Blustery conditions and an unpredictable pitch did not help to produce the most fluent or entertaining of games, but Chester missed reasonable chances early on with Andy Bond sending a ninth minute curler well beyond the back post whilst Craig Mahon's effort from a precise Ross Killock pass cleared the stand a minute later.
Reds' keeper Jon Worsnop blocked Rooney's 15th minute shot with Josh Law heading the loose ball behind for a corner, then former Reds' loanee defender Killock was forced to make an early exit when he pulled up with a hamstring injury.
Paul Linwood's header from a 24th minute corner struck both Jones and Wylde, then seven minutes later a snap shot from 35 yards by Job Ayo Akinde posed little threat to Chester keeper Aaron Chapman, who is currently on loan from Chesterfield.
Godfrey Poku's peach of a pass saw Shaun Harrad struggle to make a firm contact, then Akinde took the ball from the half-way line to the edge of the area before firing tamely at Chapman.
The second half started with Gareth Seddon dragging a shot wide from 16 yards, then Akinde should have at least tested the keeper when sent clear by Poku in the 50th minute.
Akinde popped up in defence to divert the ball behind from a Seddon cross in the 53rd minute, then in response Harrad was well off target from 20 yards.
Akinde somehow missed an open goal from eight yards on 63 minutes after Chapman had only parried a Harrad shot from a Tom Shaw delivery, but two minutes later Akinde's persistence in striving to reach Dan Bradley's cross won Alfreton a penalty when he was impeded by the keeper who was booked for his part.
The move had been initiated by substitute Daniel Meadows, with able assistance from Shaw and Harrad in what was by far the Reds' best move of the game, Harrad calmly slotting the spot-kick low past Chapman to register his fifth goal from seven games.
Worsnop needed to be alert on two more occasions as Alfreton protected their advantage, pawing away an awkward Matty Brown cross on 67 minutes, then racing out of goal to touch the ball away from Brendon Daniels as he shaped to shoot 11 minutes later.
Alfreton Town Team:
05 Wylde (06 Kempson, 50 mins)
25 Jones (12 Meadows, 57 mins)
18 Akinde Booked (09 Clayton, 75 mins)
24 Harrad Booked
Substitutes not used:
20 Jay McFadzean
19 Jack Andrews
31 Aaron Chapman
05 Paul Linwood
12 Lewis Turner
17 Matt Brown
03 Joe Heath
27 Ross Killock (07 Craig Hobson, 19 mins)
15 Nathan Turner (34 Jamie Menagh, 72 mins)
24 John Rooney
16 Andrew Bond
21 Craig Mahon
19 Gareth Seddon (20 Brendon Daniels, 76 mins)
Substitutes not used:
25 Ricky Bridge
01 John Danby
Goal: Alfreton Town - Shaun Harrad, 66 mins, penalty
Chester FC - Aaron Chapman, Mahon, Daniels
Alfreton Town - Dan Bradley, Michael Wylde, Shaun Harrad, Job Ayo Akinde
Attendance breakdown: 2,042 including approx. 115 from Alfreton
Man of the Match: Tom Shaw
Referee: Darren England of Barnsley