Gutsy Alfreton Town battle back to defeat Gateshead

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An incredible revival by Alfreton Town on Saturday allowed the Reds to claim all three points after being 0-2 adrift with just 14 minutes remaining on the clock.

It may have been their second win of the season over Gateshead at the Impact Arena, having knocked the Tynesiders out of the F.A.Cup in October, but Alfreton have had to wait four decades for a League win having not beaten them for points since 1973.

Gateshead started on the front foot with James Marwood’s free-kick having to be tipped over by Reds’ keeper Jordan Pickford after just 90 seconds, then at the other end Adam Bartlett had to race out of goal to hack clear as Dan Bradley played Ben Tomlinson through.

Steven Hewitt saw his tenth minute volley held by the Gateshead keeper, then after a quiet period the visitors took a 20th minute lead when a wicked cross from Josh Gillies struck the unfortunate Anton Brown on his knee and diverted into his own net.

Another Hewitt shot was held low by Bartlett, then the keeper reacted quickly as Josh Law played Louie Soares to the by-line, then there was a let-off for Alfreton in the 28th minute when Jordan Rose slipped as he dealt with a Jamie Chandler cross and sliced the ball across the face of his own goal.

Law sent Bradley clear on 32 minutes only for the midfelder to drag his shot wide when confronted by Bartlett, then in response James Brown played Gillies through and it needed a good block by Pickford’s legs to prevent a goal.

Hewitt’s through-ball found Paul Clayton in the 35th minute, but a timely tackle by James Curtis diverted hs shot for a corner, but four minutes later Gateshead’s advantage was doubled in controversial circumstances.

Rose appeared to clearly play the ball before bringing Ryan Donaldson down with a trailing leg, but Essex referee Michael Bull pointed to the spot and Gillies drilled the penalty low and firmly past Pickford.

Hewitt’s strong run into the area five minutes after the break invited another good save from Bartlett, then on 54 minutes it was Pickford’s turn to shine when he palmed away a low drive from Chandler before holding Donaldson’s 35 yarder.

Soares ran into the area before seeing his cross from the right held as Tomlinson homed in, then as an Alfreton corner broke down a swift break put the Reds in jeopardy until Gillies’ shot deflected behind off the well-positioned Adam Quinn.

Tomlinson’s header flashed wide from Bradley’s cross, then Brown glanced Law’s 71st minute corner wide as he sought to atone for his earlier error.

Three substitutions were to prove crucial to the outcome as Daniel Meadows, Nathan Arnold and Scott Boden were introduced, with the latter having a hand in all three goals.

Law played Boden down the right, but Tomlinson fired over from the edge of the area before being rewarded for his perseverance as the fightback commenced in the 76th minute.

Arnold had sent Boden to the by-line before his delivery was headed in from close range by a stretching Tomlinson, and incredibly just two minutes later Alfreton were level when Hewitt celebrated his first goal for the club by following up from eight yards after Bartlett had blocked successive efforts from Tomlinson and Boden.

Another towering header from Tomlinson was held by Bartlett from a Meadows cross nine minutes from time, then Boden’s shot was blocked on the line by Ben Clark from a Law corner.

Pickford held Ben Everson’s shot as Gateshead looked for a winning goal, but the visitors were dealt a hefty blow seconds into added time when Liam Hatch received his marching orders for leading with an elbow as he challenged and floored Rose.

Four minutes into additional time Tomlinson’s by-line cross was palmed away from supporting colleagues by Bartlett, but the keeper could not prevent Boden from hooking in the winner from five yards moments later.

It was Law’s corner - the 12th of the game awarded to the Reds - that led to Quinn nodding the ball down for Boden at the back post, and the celebrations that followed reflected the positive mood that had suddenly engulfed the stadium.

ALFRETON: Pickford; Law, Quinn, Rose, Franklin, Soares (Arnold 59 mins), Bradley (Meadows 69 mins), A.Brown, Hewitt, Clayton (Boden 59 mins), Tomlinson. Subs not used: Franks, Streete.