Late penalty secures vital point for improving Reds

Action from the Vanarama Conference match between Alfreton Town v Barnet. Alfreton player Dan Bradley pictured.
Action from the Vanarama Conference match between Alfreton Town v Barnet. Alfreton player Dan Bradley pictured.

Alfreton Town’s late penalty stifled Vanarama Conference leaders Barnet on Saturday, stretching the Reds unbeaten run to seven games in the process.

Bradley Wood calmly slotted the spot-kick past veteran keeper Graham Stack after last season’s top scorer at the lmpact Arena Job Ayo “John” Akinde had clumsily brought down Joe Leesley in a goalmouth melee three minutes into stoppage time.

The visitors had led since the 18th minute when Curtis Weston had slammed home a loose ball from very close range after Mauro Vilhete had guided a long throw from Sam Muggleton against the near post.

It was Alfreton’s fourth draw from a quartet of home games, and despite being held by struggling Dartford in midweek the Reds now have a six-point buffer clear of the drop zone with just five games left to play.

Jimmy Phillips had arrived from Burton Albion on the final day of loan transactions, going straight in to the starting line-up with Karl Hawley injured, while Dan Bradley returned from a short illness to replace John Johnston.

Meanwhile the threat of Akinde, who had amassed 30 goals so far for Barnet this season, was largely negated although he did force Reds’ keeper into a couple of good saves as well as being denied by the crossbar six minutes from time.

Both Conor Clifford and Weston went close with early Barnet chances before the latter struck to open the scoring, then Mooney needed to be alert as Akinde tried to pick out Vilhete with a lethal by-line cross.

Alfreton’s first real opening did not arrive until the 28th minute when Phillips charged down a Stack clearance, with the keeper then diverting the winger’s cross as it ran to safety.

Just 40 seconds into the second half Mooney turned behind Akinde’s snap shot from the edge of the area, then eight minutes later it was Stack’s turn to excel with a defiant tip over from a superb effort by Phillips from almost 30 yards out.

Michael Gash, who always seemed to score against the Reds in his Kidderminster Harrier days, wasted a good chance for Barnet on 71 minutes, then Joe lronside appeared to be bundled over by Bondz N’Gala but there was no penalty award forthcoming.

Another save by Mooney kept Akinde at bay, then Andy Yiadom’s driven cross reared up off Akinde and struck the crossbar.

Deep into stoppage time referee Adrian Holmes was perfectly positioned to point to the spot following the scramble that was triggered by Wood’s long throw, Akinde having caught Leesley on the shin as he wildly attempted to clear.

TEAM & STATS

Alfreton: Mooney; Graham, Howe, Rowe-Turner, Wood, Lenighan (Leesley 67), Bradley, Thanoj, Shaw (Heaton 59), Phillips (Ironside 67), Speight. Subs not used: Howell, Johnston.

Attendance: 989.