Alfreton Town at last have a point on the board, but there was still a distinct air of disappointment as they were pegged back in the 89th minute after spending much of the second half on the back foot.
Nathan Hicks suffered a nasty shoulder injury when he fell heavily in the 27th minute and the Reds seemed to lose their momentum and shape as a result, although Joe Ironside did manage to fire them ahead in the 42nd minute.
With Dan Bradley injured and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner suspended there were starting opportunities for Jake Sheridan and Hicks, and just 90 seconds into the game Massiah McDonald headed over from a Tom Shaw free-kick.
Peter Cavanagh tackled back to prevent McDonald’s 15th minute pull-back from reaching Shaw, then at the other end James Lawrie fired wide and Cameron Dawson pulled off a fine save from Damian Reeves.
McDonald turned on the edge of the area to go close on 21 minutes, then three minutes later Lawrie’s cross needed careful monitoring by Dawson and the same player also saw a shot from 25 yards deflected behind for a corner.
Reeves missed an easy chance from close range in the 27th minute, then Jordan Keane’s cross from the left was held by Altrincham keeper David Parton before the Reds took the lead when Ironside swivelled 12 yards out to send Shaw’s cross crashing into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
During six minutes of first half injury time Ironside teed up for Shaw to fire over before Reeves went perilously close once again for the visitors.
A brilliant save low to his left by Dawson saved a certain goal as Reeves broke free in the 51st minute, then the former Reds’ striker could only find the side-netting from a Kyle Perry cross.
Ironside’s shot from the edge of the area midway through the second half amounted to a rare Alfreton attack, Dawson then snatching the ball off Reeves’ head from another Perry cross.
Steven Gillespie sliced wide from close range 11 minutes from time for Altrincham, then with barely 90 seconds remaining, Perry headed home from close range from a Gillespie corner to break Alfreton hearts.