Alfreton Town 1 Salford City 1
Sunday Dec 18, 2016
Alfreton Town had to settle for a share of the spoils when Salford City visited the lmpact Arena on Saturday, the Reds were pegged back after taking a 24th minute lead in a fiesty festive encounter.
The goal itself was one to savour, Sam Smith having initiated the move before nodding Andy Monkhouse's superb return cross into Paul Clayton's path six yards out, the latter giving keeper Jay Lynch no chance with a clinical finish. Salford though persevered in a lively encounter and drew level with 11 minutes remaining, Samuel Walker hooking home in somewhat fortuitous fashion after a deep left wing cross had only been partially cleared.
Manager Nicky Law had opted to play Ross Etheridge in goal, having arrived on loan from Doncaster Rovers, and he became the latest in a growing line of Reds' players to follow in his father's footsteps and grace home turf. Father Neil had kept goal for Alfreton almost 24 years earlier, playing alongside the legendary Keith Edwards under the auspices of joint managers Danny Hague and Paul Mitchell, and was in attendance at the match on Saturday.
Salford had created several early openings without seriously testing Etheridge, Ritchie Allen, Michael Phenix and Walker all off target before the Reds responded with Monkhouse having a shot blocked by Lynch. The only real chance for either side between the opening goal and half-time was Smith's glancing header wide from a Clayton cross, the players involved on more than one occasion in mass confrontations that left a sour taste on an otherwise open first 45 minutes.
Etheridge opted to tip around a shot from James Poole that may have been drifting wide five minutes after the break, Clayton headed wide from a Craig Westcarr free-kick and an inswinging Ryan Wilson corner almost swerved in to the net.
After Walker's equaliser Westcarr saw an angled drive blocked and a positive grab by Etheridge as Jordan Hulme homed in maintained parity. Alfreton are now in 18th position in the National North League table, just two points from the drop zone. They will be looking to pick up points from the festive double header against AFC Telford United.
ALFRETON: Etheridge; Mantack, McGowan, Kennedy, Heaton, Nyoni, Wilson, Westcarr, Monkhouse [Jordan 74], Clayton, S.Smith [Hearn 90+1].
Other subs: A.Priestley, Marshall, Shelton.
SALFORD: Lynch; Nottingham, Brough, Burton, Grand, B.Priestley, Hulme, Walker, Phenix [Hine 60], Poole, Allen [King 90+1].
Other subs: Howson, Barnes, Warburton.
Referee: Garreth Rhodes