Alfreton Town suffered their first defeat in six games when Gloucester City visited the Impact Arena.
Tuesday night’s Vanarama National League North fixture ended 2-0 to the visitors.
There can be little doubt that the Reds suffered from having to play again just over 48 hours after the exertions of the FA Cup tie against Newport County, whilst City had enjoyed a ten-day rest.
Even with a few changes to the side, notably with Tom Allan, Liam Hearn and George Edmundson all returning to the starting line-up, there was an air of lethargy on a bitterly cold and damp evening in front of the lowest gate of the season.
There was also a run out for new signing midfielder Andre Olukanmi, whose pace was evident when he came on at the start of the second half, but there were few positives otherwise.
Having said that the Reds had a good spell after weathering early threats from Zack Kotwica and Joe Hanks, with Hearn forcing a corner that was taken by Craig Westcarr, the ball being cleared off the line from Hearn’s subsequent header, then at the midway point of the first half a promising run by Hearn ended with a weak shot.
Brad McGowan was next to see his header held by keeper Jasbir Singh, but the Reds were hit by a brace of goals against the run of play to go into the break with a 0-2 deficit.
Kotwica broke the deadlock with an untidy back post header from Keiran Thomas’s 39th minute cross, then in added time Joe Parker was invited to pick his spot after running unchallenged on to an Edward Williams through-ball.
Allan attempted to inspire Alfreton with a run down the right two minutes after the restart, lashing his shot from 20 yards inches wide of the near post, then a let-off for the Reds occurred when Parker dispossessed Kallam Mantack only to be thwarted by an instinctive interception by keeper Fabian Spiess.
There were a couple of chances for the Reds around the 70 minute mark, Hearn thwarted by Singh as he tried to walk the ball around the keeper from Allan’s cross, then Niall Heaton’s header from a Ryan Wilson corner was hacked off the line.
The remainder of the game was taken up by delaying tactics utilised by the visitors at every opportunity, as well as Luke Hopper’s goal in stoppage time being ruled out for off-side as Gloucester ran out facile victors.
ALFRETON: Spiess; Mantack, McGowan, Edmundson, Heaton, Wilson, Monkhouse, Nyoni (Olukanmi HT), Allan, Hearn, Westcarr (S.Smith 63). Subs not used: A. Smith, Kennedy.
GLOUCESTER: Singh; Thomas, Greenslade, Hamilton, Avery, Mullings Hanks, Webb, Parker (Hall 90), Kotwica (Hopper 84), Williams (Reid 77). Subs not used: Fitzgibbon, Dinsley.
Referee: Martyn Rawcliffe. Attendance: 344.