Alfreton Town lost their 100 per cent home record after Skrill Premier leaders Cambridge United held them to a 1-1 draw in a highly entertaining encounter at the lmpact Arena on Tuesday night.
Paul Clayton’s first goal of the campaign had given the Reds a 15th minute lead, but Ryan Donaldson restored parity after 63 minutes and, as neither side deserved to lose, a draw has to be considered to be a fair result.
Just 62 seconds had elapsed when Daniel Meadows’s confident volley from the edge of the area was held by visiting keeper Chris Maxwell, then at the other end Donaldson’s effort was held by Ross Atkins from an Adam Cunnington cross.
Meadows had another shot saved from Dan Bradley’s eighth minute pass, then Michael Wylde tackled back smartly to prevent Harrison Dunk’s cross from reaching Cunnington.
Nick Fenton headed over at the back post from John McGrath’s 14th minute free-kick, but the central defender was involved in the build-up to the opening goal just one minute later.
McGrath’s right-wing corner was headed back by Fenton for Tom Shaw to drill low from 16 yards, and Clayton was able to divert the ball beyond Maxwell.
Clayton almost doubled his tally in the 18th minute but fired wide after cutting in from the left, then a similar move by Meadows moments later saw his curler from 25 yards land on the roof of the net.
Maxwell needed two attempts to deal with a humdinger from Bradley some 35 yards out after Job Ayo Akinde had miskicked, then Lathaniel Rowe-Turner’s 29th minute cross teed up Meadows for a shot that Donaldson blocked.
A superb reflex save by Atkins prevented Kwesi Appiah from equalising on 31 minutes, then late in the first half Wylde’s volley was held by Maxwell from Clayton’s lay-off.
Just 30 seconds after the break Akinde embarked on a run before feeding Clayton, but the alert Maxwell blocked at his near post, then Meadows sent Akinde down the left, only for the striker to fire into the side-netting from a diminishing angle.
Former Alfreton favourite Nathan Arnold zipped along the line in the 57th minute before pulling the ball back for Appiah, but England C international Bradley Wood blocked it at source.
Cambridge were level 18 minutes into the second half after McGrath had halted Dunk’s progress illegally, with Donaldson’s fiercely struck free-kick taking a wicked deflection off the defensive wall to deceive Atkins.
The Reds’ keeper dealt confidently with a subsequent Donaldson free-kick, then United skipper lan Miller needed to block as Clayton sent Akinde through on 78 minutes.
Akinde’s driven cross into the box struck Shaw sharply and rebounded clear with nine minutes remaining, then Appiah went close from a suspiciously offside position before Akinde fired wide after good work on the left by Rowe-Turner and Josh Law.