Joe Leesley’s late, late winner just about sealed Corby Town’s relegation fate on Saturday after a frenzied first half had produced two goals for each side by the 36th minute, amazingly with all four goals being headers from corners.
Niall Heaton struck for the Reds with barely three minutes on the clock, his crisp header finding the net off the underside of the crossbar from six yards from Andi Thanoj’s flag-kick after Taylor McKenzie had intercepted a Dan Bradley cross that had been intended for Jamie McDonagh.
Corby, who desperately needed a win to stand any remote chance of survival, were buoyed by an equaliser in the seventh minute when former Reds’ favourite Anton Brown was credited with the header from Ben Milnes’ corner, although there was a suspicion of keeper Matt Duke being impeded in the process.
McDonagh set up Bradley for a stinging volley that home keeper Sam Donkin superbly tipped over in the 17th minute, Jamie Jackson then seeing a header blocked before another corner led to Alfreton taking the lead for the second time in the 29th minute.
It was Heaton who was on hand again, scoring with a downward header from Thanoj’s delivery that bounced into the back of the net from eight yards to give the Reds’ defender his second goal of the game and his third for the season.
Bradley fired over from McDonagh’s tee-up, then Todd Jordan tackled back desperately as Callum Ball broke through, before Duke’s late save from Milnes led to Corby’s second equaliser in the 36th minute.
It was yet another corner, this one met clinically by McKenzie from close range with the firmest of headers, the first half endding with Duke having to claw away another corner under pressure.
It came as little surprise that the second half failed to live up to the energy of its predecessor, but Alfreton went desperately close to scoring on a couple of occasions.
A free-kick taken by Thanoj in the 58th minute looped up off Brown, with several players vying for possession in the box before Brown flung himself in the way of a subsequent drive by Thanoj.
Then in the 74th minute Edi Appleton hacked Lindon Meikle’s shot off the line, but at the other end another ex-Red Massiah McDonald twice tested Duke when he should perhaps have done better with his clear opportunities.
The 89th minute arrived with both sides seemingly deadlocked until Heaton’s long throw from the halfway line released Sam Smith down the left, his pass to Joe Leesley allowing the Alfreton midfielder to steer the ball slowly and accurately beyond Donkin from a difficult angle, nestling just inside the back post.
ALFRETON: Duke; Moyo, Jordan, Banton, Heaton, Bradley, Thanoj (Doyle-Charles 80), Nyoni, Jackson (Leesley HT), McDonagh (Meikle HT), Smith. Subs not used: Allan.