Alfreton Town suffered a 1-0 defeat when Lowestoft Town made their first ever trip to the lmpact Arena on Tuesday night - Jake Reed’s 60th minute goal separating the teams.
Matters were made worse by skipper Dan Bradley being sent off for a reckless challenge on Erkan Okay in the 74th minute, the Reds’ early season discipline in disarray.
Tom Allan had been desperately unlucky not to score when he guided Niall Heaton’s long throw against the crossbar with a powerful header after 21 minutes, then eight minutes after the break Sam Berry’s header from an Andi Thanoj corner was tipped over impressively by visiting keeper Jake Jessup.
There was precious little else to enthuse over though, other than Jamie Jackson’s downward header from Joe lronside’s third minute cross that had gone close to opening the scoring, as well as a brace of lronside efforts that were comfortably dealt with by Jessup in the first half.
Pressure from Lowestoft had seen Okay almost catch keeper Nick Draper off his line from 40 yards, the setting sun making life difficult for the Reds, astute efforts from Reed and strike partner Danny Crow reminding Alfreton that opposition at this level will not be easy to overcome.
Three minutes before the goal the Reds’ defence was almost split open by Ryan Jarvis, but Allan bravely flung himself in front of the ball to block - however the warning signs were there and when Crow carved them open Reed was left with a simple tap-in from close range after running into space. Crow almost doubled the Trawlerboys’ advantage on 69 minutes, his low drive from 20 yards scuttling inches wide, then Draper had to hold a tricky shot from Chris Henderson.
The Reds had cause to feel aggrieved when Reed was booked for persistent fouling eight minutes from time, then almost immediately made a lunging tackle on Berry that only brought a warning from the inconsistent referee.
Reed was substituted before play resumed and the only realistic chance that came Alfreton’s way in the latter stages was a Joe Leesley cross in the sixth minute of added time that was cleared only as far as Thanoj on the edge of the area, but his off-balance shot was stifled and scurried wide.
Alfreton: Draper; Berry, Jordan, Allan, Heaton, Wilson (Smith 67), Bradley, Thanoj, Jones (Paling 73), Jackson (Leesley 58), Ironside.
Subs not used: Moyo, Galinski. Attendance: 515.
While, Alfreton supporters of all ages can enjoy a fantastic line-up of pre-match entertainment prior to this Saturday’s home league game against Brackley Town.
For the first Saturday home game of the season, the club are staging a fun-packed day of entertainment entitled The Big Pre-Match Event which starts at 12.30pm and will feature The Falconettes cheerleading group. Members of the Britain’s Got Talent finalist group The Chippendoubles will also be performing along with lookalikes such as Simon Cowell and Gordon Ramsay.