Sixth loss in row for Reds

Alfreton Town v Braintree Town FC. Tom Shaw fires in a shot.
Alfreton Town v Braintree Town FC. Tom Shaw fires in a shot.
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Alfreton Town’s frustrating start to the season - their worst in decades - has seen them lose all six games during August, with manager Nicky Law banned throughout the month.

Law will be back in charge in time for Saturday’s difficult trip to high-flying Barnet, but may have to wait until the home game against Altrincham three days later to kick-start the Reds’ campaign.

Alfreton introduced their latest signing Andi Thanoj into midfield for Saturday’s 2-0 loss, and for the first hour matched Braintree, only to fall away tamely once the Essex side had established a 64th minute lead.

Successive Tom Shaw corners in the 12th minute led to the visitors breaking swiftly, but Jordan Cox let the Reds off the hook when he scuffed his shot wide upon confrontation with home keeper Cameron Dawson.

Dawson comfortably held another Cox effort at his near post on 14 minutes, then five minutes further on Alfreton responded with Jake Sheridan’s low drive deflected behind for another corner, which led to central defender Luke Graham blazing over from close range.

A 25 yard free-kick from Dan Sparkes was held by Dawson then Lee Stevenson went close for the Reds from a similar distance, the first half concluding with Shaw’s free-kick almost curling in before another delivery from the midfielder was headed into the side-netting by Dan Bradley.

Another Shaw free-kick on 56 minutes led to Jordan Keane’s header being tipped over by Braintree keeper Nick Hamann, then successive shots from Stevenson and Bradley were charged down on the edge of the area.

Graham’s header drifted wide from a Shaw free-kick in the 62nd minute, but two minutes later Alfreton succumbed to a corner for the sixth time in six games, on this occasion allowing Kenny Davis to loop a header over Dawson from a Sparkes delivery.

The Reds were stifled by the visitors defending and were unable to make further inroads, so the second goal ten minutes from time settled the issue with Sparkes latching on to a loose ball following a long throw from Sam Habergham to rifle home from 12 yards, despite the young keeper’s best efforts to prevent it crossing the line.