Alfreton Town’s FA Cup exploits ended at Macclesfield Town on Saturday after the Reds were beaten 3-2 despite a brave fightback.
The Reds allowed the hosts to build a 3-0 lead with a minimum of resistance inside 37 minutes, before they pulled two goals and pushed Macclesfield all the way in the closing stages.
It was all too easy for Macclesfield as they swept into a 2-0 lead inside seven minutes, with Lindon Meikle and David Fitzpatrick already having had shots blocked before the first goal in the fifth minute.
Danny Whitaker, who was celebrating his 300th game for the home side, delivered a crossfield pass that allowed Kristian Dennis to virtually pick his spot from 16 yards.
Two minutes later, as Alfreton were still reeling from the simplicity of conceding, Paul Turnbull was allowed a clear header at the back post to convert Meikle’s cross to give the visitors a mountain to climb.
Matt Duke superbly tipped over an angled drive from Dennis in the 11th minute, then the Reds’ keeper saved from Danny Rowe.
Tom Allan’s back-post header was saved by home keeper Shwan Jalal, but Duke then had to save a Dennis free-kick low on his line before Danny Whitehead lashed a good chance wide for Macclesfield in the 36th minute.
Within a minute the score became 3-0 when Whitaker pounced on a lucky rebound off Todd Jordan to feed Dennis, who drilled the ball home with as much ease as the previous two goals.
Suddenly though the Reds switched on the turbo, and just two minutes after conceding the third goal Dan Bradley went on a determined run down the right before delivering a perfect cross for Jones to score.
Another searing run by Bradley saw his cross flash through the goalmouth, with Ryan Wilson and Jordan Robertson just unable to reach it.
Alfreton put Macclesfield under so much pressure after the break, forcing four corners in the first three minutes of the second half, before reducing the arrears further by the 51st minute.
Robertson got his ninth goal in as many games after heading home a cross by Jones
Leesley twice went close as Macclesfield visibly wobbled, and the tie should have been levelled on 64 minutes when Wilson played a deep one-two with Robertson before racing unchallenged into the area, only to shoot tamely over.
Six minutes later another Leesley effort was punched so powerfully by Jamal that it set up a counter-attack, but Meikle fired high and wide from a gilt-edged position.
Jones, Leesley, Thanoj and Robertson all went close, without actually troubling the keeper, but Alfreton just could not quite summon up that third goal that would have ensured a replay.
ALFRETON: Duke, Moyo, Allan, Galinski, Wilson, Jordan (Jackson 79 mins), Jones, Leesley,Thanoj, Bradley, Robertson.
Subs not used: Berry, Paling, Heaton, lronside, Draper.
Attendance: 1048 (108 visitors).