Reds pay the penalty in goalless stalemate

Niall Heaton's header goes wide of the target for Alfreton Town in their goalless draw against Worcester City. PHOTO: Mark Fear Photography
Niall Heaton's header goes wide of the target for Alfreton Town in their goalless draw against Worcester City. PHOTO: Mark Fear Photography

Alfreton Town manager Nicky Law called for his side to show more consistency after a goalless draw left them four points clear of the National League North relegation zone, but with games in hand.

Craig Westcarr saw his 58th minute penalty well saved by Ethan Ross as the Reds bounced back from conceding six in their previous league outing to keep a clean sheet, a fact that pleased the manager.

Law, whose side are 18th, said: “When you don’t make individual mistakes and you pick up from corners and free kicks and don’t play blind back passes and you don’t give cheap goals away, then you have always got a chance.

“The difference between Harrogate (where Alfreton lost 6-3) and today was that we didn’t make those mistakes.

“Games are won and lost by mistakes.

“On any day we can beat anyone, but equally we could lose to anyone. We have just got to find that bit of consistency, which we have struggled all year with.”

The home side dominated the 90 minutes and would have avoided their first home goalless draw two years ago if Westcarr had converted his penalty.

Ross brought down Paul Clayton after failing to hold Paul Marshall’s driven cross to concede the spot-kick.

But the keeper redeemed himself with a flying save as Westcarr was unable to convert an Alfreton penalty for the first time, despite aiming high for the top corner.

“It is unfortunate, but anyone can miss a penalty. That would have been the three points that we desired,” said Law.

“He is a big keeper, but he (Westcarr) has put it at a good height for him.

“You would expect someone of Craig’s stature to score.

“We needed that little bit of extra quality in the final third, which we didn’t have.

“But we take the positives — the fact that we kept a clean sheet and results elsewhere have gone kindly and no one has crept up on us.”

Law said he was disappointed the Reds had not gone on to win the game in the second half.

“We said at half-time we needed to have a bit more quality in the wide areas and the final third, but stay switched on and not get done on the counter-attack,” he said.

“In the second half we did OK but we didn’t have any quality in the final third.”

Worcester, reduced to 10 men in added-on time, withstood a late Alfreton flourish in a game of few chances.

Westcarr was narrowly wide from Paul Clayton’s through-ball, Brad McGowan was denied by a goalline clearance from a Paul Marshall corner and Mark Shelton’s 25 yard shot was comfortably saved.

Earlier, Shelton grazed the bar with an angled lob and Clayton narrowly headed a Marshall corner wide.

At the other end, Niall Heaton cleared a header off the line.