The outcome might have had a familiar ring to it, but Alfreton Town showed a massive improvement in a 2-1 National League North defeat at Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday.
They led at half-time through Tom Allan’s goal, but lost to two goals in as many minutes around the hour mark.
Brendon Daniels, manager John McDermott’s latest signing, swung in a 17th-minute corner and Allan lashed home the loose ball after Tom Platt and Billy Priestley had seen efforts blocked on the line.
Former Reds’ striker Joe lronside pulled the hosts level in the 60th minute of an entertaining game, firing past Reds’ keeper Chris Elliott from the edge of the area unmarked at a James McQuilkin corner.
Two minutes later another corner left Elton Ngwatala free at the back post to stab the rebound home after Elliott had parried his initial miscued shot.
“First half l thought we excellent,” said McDermott. “This (was against) a team that’s full-time, working on fitness and things all week, morning and afternoon — we get Thursday night.
“I’m not making excuses, but we competed with them — we more than matched them in the first half, got a good goal and could possibly have gone in 2-0 up.
“l can’t remember my keeper making too many flying saves. From set pieces we looked dangerous.
“They tried to move it around — we weathered that, without it really hurting us.
“We mentioned things at half-time that would be our undoing.
“It wasn’t going to be fitness and stuff like that — it was just going to be someone switching off at a set piece or getting blocked.
“We said don’t get blocked or let anyone come across you and they’ve gone and done it.
“Then for the second goal we’ve allowed the number ten to come late after we told them not to let anyone drag you in.
“He’s done us — he’s gone round the back. Yes he’s miskicked it, yes the keeper should have saved it — there shouldn’t have been a rebound,”
Allan had a glorious opportunity to double the Reds’ advantage on the stroke of half-time, directing a free header wide of the near post from a Priestley cross, whilst in the 28th minute Platt had seen his blistering drive saved by Harriers’ keeper Brandon Hall.
Young loanee striker Ricky German showed some tenacious attacking after replacing Craig Westcarr for the final 25 minutes of the game, going closest to an Alfreton equaliser six minutes from time when Bradley Wood sent him through and he forced Hall into a fingertip save.
Further chances saw Priestley, Luke Shiels and Daniels all go close, the fact that keeper Hall was nominated as Kidderminster’s man of the match speaking volumes for the Reds’ performance.
KIDDERMINSTER: Hall; Williams, Taylor [Brown h/t], Croasdale, Daly, Keane, Austin, McQuilkin [Weeks 90+3], lronside, Ngwatala [Sonupe 74], Bradley. Subs not used: Digie, Webb.
ALFRETON TOWN: Elliott; Topliss, Shiels, Priestley, Allan, Wood, Platt, Daniels, Smith [Marshall 65], Westcarr [German 65], Sharp [Jennings 77].
Subs not used: Disley, Robertson.
Referee: Scott Simpson.
Attendance: 1,613 [including 50 from Alfreton].