Blue square Bet North
Alfreton Town 1
Alfreton Town lost for the second time in four days when they visited Droylsden on Saturday, the first time they have suffered successive defeats in almost sixteen months, but the Reds are still very much in the Blue Square Bet North title hunt despite slipping to fourth spot.
The Butcher’s Arms Ground has always been one that yields few points for the Reds and they have still never beaten Droylsden there in more than two decades of trying, their solitary victory at that venue being against Darwen in an FATrophy second replay 36 years ago.
A promising move after just 40 seconds had seen Nathan Jarman spread the ball out to Nathan Arnold on the left, both players starting as replacements for Anthony Howell and the injured Liam Hearn, but Daryl Clare sliced wide from eight yards from the subsequent cross.
Droylsden though swept into a third minute lead with a rather simple goal, Ciaran Kilheeney rifling home Lee McEvilly’s cross from ten yards as a huge gap opened up in the Alfreton defence, Kilheeney continuing his habit of scoring against the Reds having previously done so regularly for Vauxhall Motors and Southport.
Clare went much closer in the tenth minute after Jarman and Arnold had again combined in the build-up, then three minutes later Reds’ keeper Chris Mackenzie had to turn behind an awkward cross from Luke Holden with Kilheeney breathing down his neck.
Theo Streete headed wide from an Ian Ross corner in the 21st minute but Alfreton were level five minutes later following their sixth flag-kick to date, the delivery from Ross passing straight through a crowded goalmouth before he retrieved the ball moments later via Jordan Hall.
Ross then worked his way to the by-line before crossing for Clare to head home from under the crossbar to his obvious delight, but then on the half-hour mark Jarman squandered a clear chance from the edge of the area after Hall and Matt Wilson had done the hard work on the left.
Mackenzie saved confidently from both Kilheeney and McEvilly, then the busy Kilheeney popped up at the other end to clear both a Ross free-kick and Anton Brown’s follow-up in the 39th minute.
Right on half-time though Alfreton fell behind to what turned out to be the winning goal, Mackenzie blotting his copybook with a flat clearance that went straight to McEvilly on the half-way line where he wasted no time in despatching it straight back into the net from an embarrassing distance.
Clare’s 50th minute attempt from 20 yards was held by home keeper Paul Phillips, then Jarman fired high over the bar from 16 yards from Hall’s cross.
A crucial block by Connor Franklin prevented Kilheeney from adding a third goal, then in response a 57th minute corner by Ross led to Wilson’s close-range header being parried by Phillips before Scott Garner headed the loose ball wide.
It was McEvilly’s turn to help out in defence for the hosts on 70 minutes when he cleared a sharp drive from Ross off the line, then seconds later Howell shot wide after a strong central run.
Wilson’s determination kept the ball in play before delivering a by-line cross that was scuffed wide by Howell from ten yards, then Jake Moult had his pot-shot held by the keeper after Mark Boyd had blocked another Ross free-kick.
Three minutes from time a slick move involving Arnold ended with Paul Clayton shooting straight at Phillips from 16 yards, then in added time Clayton’s downward header flashed past the back post from half the previous distance from another Arnold cross.
Droylsden: Paul Phillips, James Vaughan, Liam Brownhill, Paul Jones, Nat Kerr, Mark Boyd, John Miles (Domaine Rouse 88), Lewis Killeen (c), Ciaran Kilheeney, Lee McEvilly, Luke Holden (Aaron Chalmers 49).
Substitutes not used: Declan Walker, Colin Cryan, Sean Lake.
Alfreton Town: Chris Mackenzie, Matt Wilson (Jake Moult 80), Connor Franklin, Theo Streete (c), Scott Garner, Jordan Hall, Ian Ross, Anton Brown, Daryl Clare (Anthony Howell 68), Nathan Arnold, Nathan Jarman (Paul Clayton 68).
Substitutes not used: Laurie Wilson, Darren Stride.
Referee: S A Oldham of Poulton-le-Fylde.
Goals: Droylsden - Ciaran Kilheeney (3), Lee McEvilly (45). Alfreton Town - Daryl Clare (25).
Bookings: Droylsden - None. Alfreton Town - Connor Franklin (88, foul on Domaine Rouse); Scott Garner (90, foul on Domaine Rouse).
Reds man of the match: Nathan Arnold.