Alfreton Town boss Nicky Law praised the commitment of his side after they played for around an hour with 10-men and snatched two last-gasp goals to earn a National League North point against high-flying Chorley at the lmpact Arena.
Loan defender George Edmundson was the hero with headers in the 87th and 92nd minutes to snatch the unlikely point following striker Paul Clayton’s dismissal in the 34th minute following an aerial clash with Kieran Charnock.
Law said: “It’s unfortunate. l’ve seen it on the DVD and l don’t think there’s any malice in it whatsoever. Probably having your arm up there is the natural thing to do when you jump and the centre-half hasn’t jumped.
“He wasn’t complaining too much at half-time going up the tunnel. It was just an unfortunate incident and it is what it is.
“The sending off has changed the game — if anything l think it might have made us a little bit better.”
The manager hailed the “great attitude, heart, desire and commitment in the second half” shown by his side.
“We started the game slow — had we enforced ourselves on them in the first half like we did in the second, it could have been different,” Law said.
The Reds had fallen behind to a 28th minute Jason Walker penalty after Terry Kennedy impeded Jake Cottrell close to the bye-line. The visitors struck in the 42nd minute through Josh O’Keefe.
Despite being a man down, the Reds fought hard after the break.
Edmundson glanced a header wide from Paul Marshall’s cross, Adam Priestley fired behind from a difficult angle and Edmundson again went close with a back post header from a Ryan Wilson delivery.
In the final ten minutes Marshall, Priestley and Craig Westcarr all went close, but an isolated Chorley attack proved to be the turning point.
Waqas Azam found himself with a clear chance to secure victory six minutes from time but sliced wide after side-stepping Spiess.
Alfreton almost got back into the game when Priestley scored, but his effort was ruled offside. Then Brad McGowan’s header was turned behind by keeper Shaun Rowley.
However, from Wilson’s resulting corner Edmundson headed in from close range.
And two minutes into added time they earned a point when Edmundson again headed home from close range, this time from a Westcarr cross.
The fightback was the perfect boost for Alfreton ahead of their FA Cup first round tie with League Two Newport County AFC next Sunday.
ALFRETON: Spiess, Mantack, McGowan, Kennedy [Heaton 49], Edmundson, Wilson, Nyoni, Monkhouse [Priestley 60], Marshall, Westcarr, Clayton. Subs not used: S. Smith, Allan.
CHORLEY: Rowley, Challoner, Blakeman, Leather, Charnock [Jarvis 34], Roscoe, O’Keefe, Whitham [Azam 76], Carver, Walker, Cottrell. Subs not used: Beesley, Hartley, Caunce.