Derbyshire Senior Cup
Gresley FC 3
Alfreton Town 2
ALFRETON Town fell at the first hurdle of the Derbyshire Senior Cup for the first time in 15 seasons when they went down by the odd goal in five at Gresley FC on Tuesday night.
On a bitterly cold night, with a strong wind and a heavy pitch to contend with, the hosts edged a lively cup tie against a Reds side that fielded seven changes from the 4-0 victory over Southport.
Having made all the alterations, mainly through loan players being ineligible and the necessity to give playing time to squad members, manager Nicky Law was then forced into a ninth minute substitution when Leigh Franks pulled up with a hamstring problem.
His replacement Jake Moult went close in the 13th minute after a neat turn, then four minutes later an angled drive from Gresley’s Royce Turville was held low down by Reds’ keeper Dan Lowson.
Gresley took a 25th minute lead when Jordi Gough played Dean Oliver through with a ball that bounced awkwardly over Greg Young before Oliver thumped it past Lowson.
Three minutes later Alfreton were level when Paul Clayton neatly flicked in Nathan Jarman’s cross at the near post, then a sizzler from Jamie Mullan was only held at the second attempt by home keeper Gary Hateley.
Jarman fired inches wide in the 35th minute following a strong run by Theo Streete, then moments later a curling drive from Jarman was touched away at the back post by Hateley and cleared by Gough.
Two minutes before the break a Moult free-kick was parried by Hateley with Michael Nottingham hacking the loose ball off the line, then a Moult corner in the 47th minute produced a blocked Matt Wilson header and a Clayton volley against the underside of the crossbar.
Alfreton took a 61st minute lead when Mullan teed up Levi Mackin, who found the corner of the net with a precision drive from 16 yards, but the tie was level again seven minutes later.
A ball from Adam Betteridge sent Turville through to chip the ball over the advancing Lowson before following up to score, then in the 75th minute another Clayton volley was tipped over at full stretch by the Gresley keeper.
It was Moult’s turn to smash the ball against the underside of the bar a minute later, with Nathan Arnold firing the rebound over, then Clayton steered wide from eight yards from a Josh Law free-kick.
Turville was sent clear again, this time by Rob Spencer in the 83rd minute, to seal Gresley’s win with a neat finish and despite a concentrated effort to salvage the tie with Law firing into the side-netting and Moult volleying just wide Alfreton bowed out of the competition.
Alfreton Town: Dan Lowson, Theo Streete (Josh Law 64), Anton Brown, Leigh Franks (Jake Moult, 9), Greg Young (c, Jamie Mullan, Levi Mackin, Matt Wilson, Jordan Hall, Paul Clayton, Nathan Jarman (Nathan Arnold, 58).
Substitutes not used: Anthony Wilson, Ross Turner.
Man of the match: Jamie Mullan
Referee: Mr Ian Smedley of Derby