Blue Square Bet Premier
Stockport County 0
Alfreton Town 0
ALFRETON Town may have been involved in a goalless draw on their first ever visit to Edgeley Park but there was plenty to enthuse over.
The Reds were denied by the woodwork three times as they picked up their first Blue Square Bet Premier Division away point since their 1-0 win at York City back on August Bank Holiday Monday, while the hosts themselves halted a run of five successive league defeats.
To be disappointed with a draw at Stockport County emphasises just how far Alfreton Town have come in the last decade, because ten years ago the third Saturday in December saw the Reds beating Glasshoughton Welfare 4-2 at home in the Northern Counties East League.
Josh Law’s fourth minute cross won a corner with both Jake Moult and Nathan Jarman closing in on Hatters’ keeper Matt Glennon, then in response Euan Holden played Sean McConville through but Joe Day raced out of goal to boot clear.
Joe Connor headed wide on his Stockport debut from a McConville cross in the ninth minute, then back at the other end Nathan Arnold fired over after good approach work by Anthony Wilson.
Carl Piergianni headed over in the 14th minute after Greg Young backtracked to halt McConville’s by-line run, then Anton Brown’s decisive tackle blocked Connor’s shot at source.
Anthony Church fired a free-kick over the wall but without enough power to beat Glennon, then a strong run by Wilson in the 19th minute down the right petered out with a cross that was too deep.
Moult’s volley from 22 yards was held by Glennon, then in the 22nd minute Wilson ran on to Jarman’s clever pass but fired past the back post from a tight angle with only the keeper to beat.
Day needed two attempts to gather Joe Edwards’ rebound after Tom Elliott’s shot had been blocked, then in the 28th minute a cross from Danny Rowe landed on top of the Alfreton net after a penetrating run by Elliott.
Two minutes later Law’s free-kick had to be turned behind by Glennon, and from the corner Law’s shot was blocked by the keeper and Jarman lashed the loose ball against the upright from six yards.
McConville’s angled drive was held by Day after 34 minutes, then three minutes later a Brown throw set up Moult for a thunderous volley that fairly smashed against the crossbar.
A promising run by Wilson eight minutes after the break ended when he was crowded out by covering defenders, then three minutes after that it was Stockport’s turn to be thwarted by the upright when McConville let fly from the edge of the area.
Moult managed to intercept Cameron Darkwah’s shot from an Edwards’ cross in the 64th minute, then eight minutes later Adam Quinn’s header from a Law corner was diverted against the post by a defender on the line.
Celebrations were cut short when Wilson found the net after 74 minutes, but an off-side flag ruled it out after Day’s clearance had sent Arnold down the left and Church had helped on the cross to feed Wilson.
Another Law corner was delayed one minute later as Paul Clayton replaced Wilson, but the Reds’ sub was only denied an immediate goal when Glennon punched the flag-kick clear as he rose to head in virtually on the goal-line.
As Alfreton stepped up the pressure with 11 minutes remaining Church forced the ball through to Arnold, whose shot rebounded off the keeper’s legs with Andy Halls preventing it from entering the goal at the expense of a corner.
A clearance from Day struck Darkwah but rebounded for a harmless throw, then a Young through-ball found Arnold wide right but he fired over from a diminishing angle.
In the 90th minute Church fired across the face of goal from Clayton’s nod through, then Arnold found the side-netting from another Clayton pass in added time.
Alfreton Town: Joe Day, Theo Streete, Adam Quinn, Greg Young (c), Anton Brown, Josh Law, Jake Moult, Anthony Church, Nathan Arnold, Anthony Wilson (Paul Clayton 75), Nathan Jarman.
Substitutes not used: Matt Wilson, Levi Mackin, Jamie Mullan, Rob Eagle.
Stockport County: Matt Glennon, Euan Holden (Cameron Darkwah 46), Danny O’Donnell, Sean McConville, Andy Halls, Carl Piergianni, Joe Edwards, Chris Blackburn (Sam Sheridan 76), Joe Connor, Rowe, Tom Elliott.
Substitutes not used: Ian Ormson, Kyle Brownhill, Aaron Cole.
Attendance: 2,802 including 169 from Alfreton.
Referee: Mr Scott Duncan of Newcastle-upon Tyne.
Stockport County: Chris Blackburn (42, foul on Jake Moult)
Alfreton Town: Adam Quinn (66, foul on Tom Elliott)
Reds man of the match: Nathan Arnold.
Next in action
Boxing Day, Monday, December 26 - Blue Square Bet Premier Division - ALFRETON TOWN v Tamworth, 3pm.