Alfreton Town’s gritty determination allowed them to grab three precious points against the Vanarama National League North’s basement club Altrincham at the Impact Arena on Saturday.
Three goals in the final 13 minutes sent the Reds’ fans home happy, but despite the score-line this was certainly not a classic encounter and the win was dependant upon two late scrambled goals.
For the first time a player from Alfreton Town’s Academy set up - skipper Ellis Evans - filtered through to the first team bench, although he was not called into action, which is testament to the hard work and achievements attained under the stewardship of manager Jamie Brough and his back-room team.
With just five minutes elapsed Greg Wilkinson’s angled drive needed parrying by Fabian Spiess before Kallam Mantack hacked off the line, then at the other end three minutes later Adam Priestley dragged a decent chance wide.
Visiting keeper Andrew Dawber then had to turn behind a superb free-kick from Ryan Wilson, before saving from the same Reds’ player after Andy Monkhouse had played him through.
Monkhouse then flashed a shot across the face of goal from a long Niall Heaton throw, but Altrincham pounced to open the scoring on 31 minutes when Wilkinson’s hopeful lob from 20 yards took a vital deflection before looping over Spiess.
John Cyrus managed to clear a Heaton cross intended for Paul Clayton and Simon Richman’s shot was held by Spiess in response, the first half ending in turmoil and frustration as referee David McNamara failed to spot a hand-ball by an Altrincham defender as Wilson whipped in a right-wing corner.
Spiess parried a blistering shot from Wilkinson six minutes after the break, a deflected drive from Sean Miller came back off the foot of the post and Spiess made an important double save from Wilkinson before Monkhouse cleared as Altrincham tried their hardest to consolidate their advantage.
In fact it was only when the normally reliable Damian Reeves failed with the simplest of free headers midway through the second half that Alfreton were galvanised into action, the leveller arriving in the 77th minute following a Wilson free-kick.
Brad McGowan headed the ball down and Monkhouse somehow juggled the ball at the back post before stabbing it over the line, but the visitors regained their lead just five minutes later through Jake Moult’s header from a Miller cross.
Everything then concentrated on the Reds’ attacking to try and salvage a point, and that aim was achieved in the 86th minute when a hectic goalmouth scramble following a corner ended with Monkhouse scoring his second goal of the game from close range.
Now hungry for victory the rejuvenated Reds surged forward and a long throw from Heaton, the like of which had caused Altrincham problems throughout the afternoon, once again caused confusion in the box with Liam Hearn’s header finding the net from close range despite a defender’s attempt to keep the ball out.
ALFRETON: Spiess; Mantack, McGowan, Edmundson, Heaton, Nyoni, Monkhouse, Wilson, A.Smith [Allan 85], Clayton [S.Smith 85], Priestley.
other subs: Kennedy, Evans.
ALTRINCHAM: Dawber; Patterson, McWilliams [Goodall 84], Mout, Cyrus, Hannigan, Lawrie [Obeng 75], Richman, Wilkinson, Reeves [Marsh 68], Miller.
other subs: Lenighan, Deasy.
Referee: David McNamara.