A goal from midfielder Daniel Meadows after 26 minutes was enough to give Alfreton Town their first away points of the season when they visited Macclesfield Town on Saturday.
The margin of victory at Moss Rose should have been greater, but amazing misses by Paul Clayton and Job Ayo Akinde and the intervention of the post contrived to keep the score-line low.
Ironically Meadows had been the solitary change from the Woking victory, which had been necessitated by Josh Law becoming a father in the early hours of Saturday morning, the Reds’ manager Nicky Law reflecting after the match that he was “too young to be a grandfather”.
A nightmare coach journey had seen the players arrive just 18 minutes before kick-off, but without a proper warm-up the Reds astounded everyone by quickly taking the game to their hosts and had created four chances by the ninth minute.
Macclesfield were allowed just one opening in this period with Lathaniel Rowe-Turner blocking Peter Winn’s off-target shot from Chris Holroyd’s by-line cross in the seventh minute.
The clearest chance to date arrived on 13 minutes when Taylor was caught in two minds as he raced to the edge of his area with Clayton latching on to Bradley Wood’s through-ball, opting to head the ball up in the air and behind him.
Clayton clearly did not realise how much space he had suddenly been presented with as he had his back to the open goal, and the opportunity was squandered with a wayward overhead kick.
Clayton was posing all sorts of problems for the Macclesfield defence, and when he ran on to Shaw’s through-ball with still only 15 minutes having elapsed, it needed a wily tackle back by veteran Efe Sodje to prevent a goal.
Holroyd scuffed a half-chance wide for the Silkmen in the 24th minute, but Alfreton edged ahead two minutes later after another rush of blood to the head had seen Taylor carry the ball out of his area.
The keeper was only shown a yellow card as the incident had not affected an Alfreton move, but the referee was surrounded by annoyed Macclesfield players for several seconds as protests about the award of the free-kick were waved aside.
McGrath drove the free-kick low through the area from the right of goal and Meadows calmly slotted the ball past Taylor from almost on the penalty spot.
A low Winn drive from 20 yards was comfortably held by Atkins, but Bolton’s header back across goal from Danny Whitaker’s 66th minute corner was a little too close for comfort.
A crisp Meadows drive was held by Taylor after Shaw, Clayton and Akinde had combined on the left, then Holroyd headed over for the hosts from close range.
The last six minutes were hectic with Akinde blazing wide of an open goal from six yards after Clayton had laid back a McGrath free-kick, and he won’t even be able to claim a prestigious “Alf” award at the end of the season for the miss of the match.
Akinde almost made up for it within seconds though, when his stooping header from Shaw’s cross rebounded off the foot of the post too sharply for the supporting Clayton.
A brilliant tip over by Atkins from Danny Rowe’s vicious volley spared any further embarrassment for the strikers, then Dan Bradley fired over from an Akinde pass while Atkins had the last word with a late save to deny Rowe again.