Cruel defeat for Alfreton

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Alfreton Town can count themselves extremely unfortunate not to have returned from Barnet on Saturday with at least a point, having given the league leaders a real run for their money, only conceding the winner in added time.

There was more to enthuse about from this showing than in all of the previous six put together.

Striker Massiah McDonald relished his opportunity of a first start as he teamed up with Joe Ironside.

Law also offered appearances off the bench for young defender Lawrence Gorman and striker Bennie Igiehon, who was at last able to take the field after his protracted wait for international clearance.

Undoubtedly the highlight of a first half, largely dominated by Alfreton, was Dan Bradley’s determination to prove a point against the club he briefly joined during the summer, bothering Barnet repeatedly with speedy runs.

However an injury to the midfielder forced a change at half-time, with Jake Sheridan replacing him, and it was only after an hour’s play that the hosts were able to take a hold when Rowe-Turner was sent off after conceding a penalty.

A lengthy run by Bradley on 16 minutes saw his cross beat outstretched legs in the box, then five minutes later McDonald forced home keeper Graham Stack to save at close range from Ironside’s flick through.

Another Bradley sortie ended with Stack clutching the ball at the near post, then Gray aborted a similar move by Charlie MacDonald with a timely tackle as former Reds’ striker Job Ayo Akinde homed in.

Barnet’s clearest chance of the first half ultimately fell to Akinde, who headed wide from close range after Cook had created the opening on 39 minutes, then Alfreton picked up the pace again with McDonald sending Bradley down the right with Ironside only able to steer the cross wide.

Just two minutes into the second half the Alfreton faithful were celebrating an away goal at last, with McDonald stretching to head Gray’s cross past Stack from eight yards.

A brave save by Dawson from Charlie MacDonald preceded the 60th minute incident that undid all of Alfreton’s good work, Rowe-Turner sent off after being adjudged to have impeded Akinde and deemed to be the last line of defence.

MacDonald sent Dawson the wrong way from the spot, but Alfreton refused to lie down and Ironside again went close.

Despite looking as if the ten men were going to hold out for a well deserved share of the spoils, Luisma Villa unleashed an unstoppable free-kick that flew in from 20 yards with two minutes of added time elapsed to earn Barnet’s 2-1 win.