ALFRETON Town tried their hardest against high-flying Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday, but ultimately conceded their third Blue Square Bet Premier double of the season.
High winds at the Impact Arena certainly did not help the Reds’ cause, particularly in a difficult first half when keeper Dan Lowson’s kicks scarcely reached the halfway line, but the turning point of the game was undoubtedly a red card received by Louis Moult on his home debut in first half added time.
It was a rash challenge on Kyle Storer on the half-way line that prompted the referee to interpret the tackle as dangerous, but Alfreton never let their heads drop and they deserved at the very least a draw for their endeavours and did not concede the first goal until stoppage time.
Central defender Adam Quinn returned after recovering from a calf strain but the Reds were without Anton Brown who was suffering with ‘flu.
After a slow start to the game a good crossfield pass from Storer in the seventh minute set Kidderminster up for their first attack but James McQuilkin ran the ball out on the right, then in response Josh Law curled a shot over after Reds’ pressure from their first corner.
A 14th minute effort from Storer took an awkward deflection but was well held by Lowson, then Lee Hendrie’s strong drive was particularly well dealt with again by the Reds’ keeper.
Luke Jones was the next Harrier to try and take advantage of the conditions, but his 18th minute shot from 20 yards was diverted behind for a corner, then as Alfreton finally found some space Kidderminster keeper Tony Breeden hacked clear as Nathan Arnold closed in.
Nick Wright fired hopelessly high and wide from a good position, then Hendrie’s low drive looped up off Adam Quinn for another corner for the visitors, then on the half hour mark Louis Moult sent Arnold away down the right but the end product was a shot into the side-netting.
Dan Bradley was the next Harriers’ player to miss the target by some distance, then Louis Moult drove the ball hard and low through the six-yard box but no-one managed to make contact in the target area.
Another good save by Lowson thwarted Wright in the 35th minute, turning his low drive around the post, then Jamie Mullan won a corner for Alfreton after taking a swift return pass from Arnold and sprinting down the right flank.
Reduced to ten men for the second half the Reds at least had the wind at their backs and were able to make their presence felt, but Jake Moult’s 50th minute shot from 16 yards following a Connor Franklin throw was comfortably held by Breeden.
A powerful header by Michael Williams from McQuilkin’s 55th minute corner was defiantly tipped over at full stretch by Lowson when the opening goal looked inevitable, then Jamille Matt wasted a good chance by only troubling the side-netting.
Lowson easily saved Bradley’s weak 62nd minute header, then Stephen Guinan’s lob was only just over the bar from Matt’s pull-back.
Nathan Jarman’s 67th minute header was cleared from almost on the line by Williams, then three minutes later Mullan jinked inside before seeing his curling shot again cleared by Williams.
Lowson held a deflected shot from Wright on 74 minutes, then a vital tackle back by Theo Streete halted Hendrie’s progress from a huge clearance by Breeden.
izarrely the game’s first off-side decision in the 89th minute prevented Wright from breaking the deadlock, but just as stoppage time began Kidderminster struck a deadly blow when Anthony Malbon swept Bradley’s cross past Lowson from 10 yards to open the scoring on his Harriers’ debut.
Reds boss Nicky Law threw Paul Clayton and Anthony Wilson into the mix, but with three strikers pushing forward the inevitable counter-attack occurred in the fourth minute of added time with Callum Gittings and Guinan setting up Matt for a simple second goal.
Alfreton Town: Dan Lowson, Josh Law, Adam Quinn, Greg Young, Connor Franklin, Jamie Mullan, Jake Moult (Anthony Wilson 90+3), Theo Streete, Nathan Arnold, Louis Moult, Nathan Jarman, Nathan Arnold (Paul Clayton 90+3).
Substitutes not used: Matt Wilson, Leigh Franks, Craig Clay
Kidderminster Harriers: Tony Breedon, Thomas Sharpe (Anthony Malbon 76), Michael Williams, Luke Jones, Michael Demetriou, Daniel Bradley, Kyle Storer, Lee Hendrie (Callum Gittings 86), James McQuilkin (Steve Guinan 61), Jamille Matt, Nicholas Wright.
Substitutes not used: Michael Briscoe, Dean Lyness (GK).
Goals: Kidderminster Harriers - Anthony Malbon (90+2), Jamille Matt (90+4).
Alfreton Town - Josh Law, Connor Franklin, Theo Streete, Jamie Mullan.
Kidderminster Harriers - Thomas Sharpe, Kyle Storer, Lee Hendrie.
Red card: Alfreton Town - Louis Moult (45+1, dangerous play)
Attendance: 990 (including 199 from Kidderminster)
Man of the Match: Dan Lowson
Referee: Mr Richard West of Beverley