Reds rocked by early goals

Craig Westcarr
PHOTO: MARK FEAR - MARK FEAR PHOTOGRAPHY

Craig Westcarr PHOTO: MARK FEAR - MARK FEAR PHOTOGRAPHY

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Three goals conceded in 13 minutes at play-off contenders Kidderminster Harriers left Alfreton Town still in National League North relegation trouble.

Russ O’Neill’s side, who lost 3-0, are four points clear of the drop zone.

Early pressure from the play-off contenders had been soaked up, with keeper Fabian Spiess on top form, until Adam Smith made a 20th minute error.

Caught in possession by Jordan Tunnicliffe as he tried to dribble his out of his area, Smithbrought down his opponent and conceded a penalty.

James McQuilkin smashed home the spot-kick, giving the keeper no chance.

Spiess had already saved brilliantly from Liam Truslove’s full-blooded volley in the 12th minute and then made a point-blank save from Daniel Nti just two minutes later.

However,he could not prevent Truslove from converting McQuilkin’s 28th minute corner with a deflected shot to put the hosts two goals ahead.

It was 3-0 in the 33rd minute when Tyrell Waite found the corner of the net too easily from Josh Ezewele’s cross.

The Reds fought back and Sam Smith headed into the side-netting from a 35th- minute Craig Westcarr free-kick.

Kidderminster continued to dominate, though, and Ryan Wilson was forced to slice a clearance against his own bar before Spiess again saved well, this time from Sam Austin.

A better, more composed performance after the break gave the Reds some hope.

They spent more time in the host’s half and looked tighter at the back, where a better balance had been achieved with Niall Heaton replacing Adam Smith at half-time and taking over from Wilson at left back.

Westcarr engineered a shooting opportunity in the 51st minute, turning to fire at home keeper Sam Hornby, before Mark Shelton fed Wilson wide on the left for a cross that was also held.

Shelton then ran positively towards goal after picking up a loose ball, only to take one touch too many.

Westcarr could only manage a stifled shot that barely tested the keeper and an 87th minute attack yielded the Reds’ only corner of the game.

Despite Alfreton’s territorial advantage in the later stages Spiess still had to make saves from substitute Andre Brown.

In injury time Morgan Brough was given a taste of National League North football after O’Neill selected two Academy players for the bench, with prolific scorer Brough joining skipper Ellis Evans as a substitute.

ALFRETON: Spiess; Richards, McGowan, Kennedy, Wilson, Atkinson, Monkhouse, Shelton (Marshall 82mins), A. Smith (Heaton 46mins), S. Smith (Brough 93 mins), Westcarr. Subs not used: Jordan, Evans.

Referee: Martin Woods.

Attendance: 1,542 (54 from Alfreton.)