Alfreton Town attained their highest ever position in the football pyramid with a point from their 1-1 draw at Hyde FC on Tuesday night, but were forced to play the last 12 minutes,including added time, with only ten men.
With only two other games taking place in the Blue Square Bet Premier on the night, this allowed the Reds to clamber up to 12th spot with 25 points from their 19 games so far.
Two bad injuries to central defenders Leigh Franks [ankle] and Ross Killock [facial], the latter after all three subs had been utilised, meant that the Reds had to be content with coming away from Ewen Fields with a draw after dominating the first half.
Alfreton were quickest out of the blocks with Nathan Arnold embarking on two penetrating runs on seven and eight minutes to force corners, before Ben Tomlinson just failed to convert Paul Clayton’s defence-spitting cross in the tenth minute.
Matthew Harriott’s neat pass to Josh Law on 18 minutes ended with Clayton scooping the ball over from an offside position, but when home keeper Chris Dilo hoofed the free-kick upfield, Phil Jevons found himself clear and was only prevented from putting Hyde ahead by the outstretched leg of Jon Stewart.
Five minutes later, Law’s thunderous free-kick from the far edge of the area looked destined for the top corner of the net until Dilo appeared at the last moment to palm it behind, then a more routine save eight minutes later denied Arnold.
Harriott unleashed a ferocious drive from 20 yards on 36 minutes that Dilo again repelled after Arnold, Clayton and Connor Franklin had combined on the left, but Alfreton broke the deadlock three minutes later in clinical style.
Law’s free-kick from the right was converted by Franks’s towering header 12 yards out to register his first goal for the Reds in his 41st appearance, but the lead only lasted four minutes.
The equaliser arrived in the 43rd minute when Jevons glanced a header low past Stewart from a Chris Sedgwick corner, then in first half added time Clayton’s snap shot was held by Dilo.
Killock saved the day eight minutes into a second half that saw the hosts more authoritative than earlier, his decisive tackle preventing a lethal through-ball from Alex Brown reaching Matthew Blinkhorn.
Four minutes later, Jevons wasted a clear chance when sent through by Blinkhorn, then Killock had to intervene again as Liam Tomsett forged an opening.
Blinkhorn fired wide from a Jevons cross as Hyde continued to press, then a rare error of judgement by Killock almost proved costly on 65 minutes, his slip allowing Brown to sprint down the right but Franks managed to block Jevons’s ensuing volley.
Almost in the same breath, Ryan Crowther unleashed a screamer from the edge of the area that Stewart diverted behind at full stretch, then at the other end Dilo somehow managed to prevent Killock’s close range header from crossing the line after being teed up by Arnold.
Franks limped off with 14 minutes remaining with a suspected fractured ankle, then, when Killock was accidentally struck in the face on 83 minutes, he had to be led from the pitch by Alfreton physio Doug Kyle and the Hyde club doctor with blood pouring from his mouth.
With both central defenders out of the picture, the Reds ended the game with Theo Streete and Anton Brown at the heart of the back four.
In the closing stages, Tomsett put David Poole through only to chip over the bar, Arnold responded with a weak shot that was easily covered by Dilo and Blinkhorn missed a relatively easy chance to seal a win for Hyde by heading wide at the back post from a Crowther corner.
ALFRETON: Stewart; Law, Franks [Meadows 76], Killock, Franklin, Streete, Harriott [Brown 76], Bradley, Arnold, Clayton, Tomlinson [Russell 67]. other subs: Quinn, Worsfold. Att: 444