Late goals harsh on Reds as wasted chances punished

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Three late goals sent Alfreton Town to a 4-0 defeat by Gloucester City in National League North.

But the Reds, who are 16th and nine points clear of the relegation zone, created second half chances and were in contention for at least a point before the late goals flurry.

Having conceded early at Cheltenham Town’s Whaddon Road, the visitors looked the likelier to score the game’s second goal until Zack Kotwica gave Gloucester City a 2-0 lead in the the 73rd minute.

Kotwica went on to complete his hat-trick as a late brace flattered the home side.

Kotwica had opened the scoring in the sixth minute, sweeping home Luke Hopper’s cross from six yards.

Chris Knowles [twice] and Keiran Thomas went close for the home side before Ryan Wilson’s effort was blocked from a Craig Westcarr cross for the visitors.

Alfreton looked as if they were going to equalise on 32 minutes when a slick move saw Liam Hearn and Mark Shelton combine before Westcarr’s cross fell to Wes Atkinson.

Keeper Jasbir Singh, however, stuck out a leg to prevent the ball from entering the net.

As the interval beckoned the Reds’ keeper, Fabian Spiess, pulled off a defiant save from Hopper.

At the other end Shelton almost lured Jack Deaman into turning the ball past his own keeper.

Both Hopper and Kotwica dragged decent chances wide as Gloucester looked to extend their lead, while Hearn hooked over for Alfreton and Shelton could only scoop the ball into the side-netting from Westcarr’s delivery.

Gloucester again went close when Ed Williams smashed the ball against the bar from 30 yards.

Alfreton hit back and a central run by Callum McFadzean led to Westcarr’s shot being cleared.

Singh then blocked a Hearn shot on 61 minutes and Brad McGowan went close from a Westcarr free-kick as the Reds pressed for an equaliser.

But Kotwica struck again with 17 minutes remaining to cut Alfreton’s promising spell short.

Spiess failed to hold a Luke Thomas shot that left Korwica with an easy goal.

Five minutes later Spiess parried a stinging drive from Williams, who put the rebound into the roof of the stand when it looked easier to score.

However, there was no let-off for the visitors as Gloucester added further late goals.

Wilson’s foul on Kotwica conceded a penalty that allowed the City striker to claim his hat-trick in the 80th minute.

Hopper was then allowed to roam free before slotting past Spiess for the fourth goal three minutes from time.

On Saturday the Reds are at home to Bradford Park Avenue, who sit three points behind Alfreton.

Gloucester City: Singh, K. Thomas, Hall, Deaman, Avery, Knowles, Hanks [McGrory 83], Williams, Hopper, Kotwica [Parker 88], L. Thomas. Subs not used: King, Hamilton, Moseley.

AlfretonTown: Spiess, Richards, McGowan, Jordan, Wilson, Atkinson [Marshall 62], Monkhouse, Shelton [S. Smith 76], McFadzean, Westcarr, Hearn [Allan 83]. Subs not used: Kennedy, Heaton.

Referee: Josh Smith.

Attendance: 435.