Alfreton Town picked up a welcome point at Blue Square Bet Premier leaders Wrexham on Saturday in a 1-1 draw to remain unbeaten at that venue from three visits.
Scott Boden’s 57th minute leveller cancelled out Kevin Thornton’s ninth minute opener, and, on a tricky pitch, the Reds did more than enough to merit a share of the spoils.
Nicky Law made three key changes with Josh Law, Paul Clayton and Nathan Arnold all rested as the fixtures come thick and fast, but the tactics worked as the hosts became increasingly frustrated.
Thornton’s goal was superbly struck from the edge of the area after latching on to a Joe Clarke cross, giving young loan keeper Jordan Pickford no chance of preventing the ball from flying into the net.
Adam Quinn had to head an awkward 12th minute Clarke corner from under the crossbar and the central defender then hacked clear as a Dean Keates free-kick bobbled around the box.
Alfreton’s first move of promise ended with Ben Tomlinson caught offside from Anton Brown’s 16th minute pass, then a neat flick through by Steven Hewitt to Boden led to the ball being run out.
Boden and Louie Soares each fired over from 20 yards, then on 30 minutes, keeper Chris Maxwell had to save low from Soares after Dan Bradley had laid off a partial clearance from a Hewitt corner.
When Thornton’s 32nd minute shot skimmed off former Wrexham defender Darran Kempson it triggered four successive corners, with Pickford turning behind Neil Ashton’s back post header before Danny Wright headed over as each delivery became progressively more dangerous.
On 39 minutes, Maxwell produced a flying leap to deal with Soares’ shot from the edge of the area, then on the stroke of half-time Bradley’s 25-yarder was held low by the keeper.
Three minutes after the break Soares cut in to force a corner off Chris Westwood then Arnold, who had replaced Ben Tomlinson at half-time, could only find the side-netting from a promising move.
Twelve minutes into the second half Alfreton deservedly equalised when Boden was left with a simple conversion at the back post after Maxwell had failed to hold an angled drive from Soares.
Six minutes later, Brett Ormerod played Wright neatly through and Pickford had to save with his legs, then Thornton played Dele Adebola to the by-line before being marshalled to safety by Quinn.
Kempson’s vital touch diverted Thornton’s 70th minute strike for a corner, then at the other end a towering Leigh Franks header from a Hewitt corner was held by Maxwell.
Soares’s long diagonal run to the edge of the area resulted in his off-balance shot narrowly missing the target, then late in the game Pickford held Clarke’s shot with confidence following a deep Keates’s free-kick.
Pickford brilliantly tipped over Adebola’s shot from ten yards three minutes into added time before beating out Clarke’s corner, then Keates missed the clearest chance of the game from eight yards as Alfreton successfully absorbed the late pressure.