Alfreton Town slumped to their heaviest defeat in 12 months when they were beaten 3-0 by Stockport County at the lmpact Arena on Saturday.
April 25th 2015 had seen the Reds lose 7-0 at Bristol Rovers, witnessed by a Conference record crowd of 11085, with Alfreton relegated back to the Vanarama National League North where their biggest margin of defeat all season had been by two goals.
In fairness to the Reds it was two very late goals that flattered Stockport’s victory, the hosts having gone close on enough occasions during the 90 minutes to warrant a better outcome.
However, at this stage of the season with both teams locked in mid-table neutrality, it was hardly surprising that concentration would wane with nothing at stake.
County keeper Dean Henderson had to be alert in the eighth minute, sticking out a leg to thwart Dan Bradley from a tight angle, but Julian Banton twice had to tackle back to prevent John Marsden from scoring at the other end within the following three minutes.
Jamie Jackson saw a shot blocked and Andi Thanoj went desperately close with a back-post header from a Bradley cross, but Marsden swept Stockport ahead in the 27th minute when he was on hand to lash a loose ball past Matt Duke from 16 yards.
Henderson prevented Bradley from scoring after a menacing run, the keeper then saving well from a Sam Jones thunderbolt as the interval approached, the second half just three minutes old when Jackson fired a venomous strike inches over the bar.
Joe Garvin forced Duke into a stretching fingertip save in the 56th minute, Ryan Wilson, Bradley and Lindon Meikle all went frustratingly close without further testing Henderson, whilst for Stockport Marsden sliced wide when it looked easier for him to score.
Five minutes remaining and Alfreton were still in contention, that is until Richard Brodie found a way through a crowded goalmouth to find the corner of the net with his low drive from a Danny Morton cross to double the Hatters’ advantage.
Just two minutes later the third goal was spectacularly hooked in by Mardsden from the tightest of angles after he had chased a Henderson free-kick to the bye-line, the keeper preventing a Reds’ consolation in added time when Smith picked out Jackson at the far post.
Two presentations were made after the final whistle:-
ALFRETON: Duke; Moyo, Banton, Jordan, Heaton, Nyoni (Wilson 64), Leesley, Thanoj (Smith 29), Jones (Meikle 77), Jackson, Bradley.
Subs not used: Allan, Doyle-Charles.
ATTENDANCE: 837 (264 from Stockport)