A tale of two penalties and a sending-off sentenced Alfreton Town to a 3-2 defeat at home to York City in the Vanarama National League North -- and left manager John McDermott overflowing with frustration.
Twice the Reds came from behind, but were reduced to ten men in the 69th minute when Tom Platt picked up a second yellow card after he was harshly adjudged to have conceded a spot-kick in an innocuous-looking challenge with Gary Martin.
After journeyman striker Jon Parkin had lashed the penalty past goalkeeper Chris Elliott, Alfreton were awarded one of their own just six minutes later when Sean Newton handled a Brendon Daniels corner. But Bradley Wood saw his kick saved by York ‘keeper Adam Bartlett, and the Reds were on their way to another loss.
A bitterly disappointed McDermott said: “It’s a bit like de ja vu, isn’t it? Against three teams now, we could have had seven points, if not nine, and we’ve ended up with nothing.
“I’m sick to death of managers coming to me on the touchline and telling me what a good team we are. We’re 16th in the table and and you can’t be a good team if you’re 16th.
“l’m frustrated more than anything. The goals we conceded were criminal. They were not good goals. One was just a long ball down the middle that we didn’t deal with. We knew Parkin would be a handful, so we said: get lads in front of him and stop him there. But we went too deep, the ball was flicked on and it’s a goal.
“York’s first goal came from a man not tracking back, not doing the leg-work, when we were on top. But we got back into the game, scored a good goal after passing it around them and I said: keep doing that and they won’t get near you.
“Brendon Daniels scored a wonder goal to equalise at 2-2, but then came a long punt down the middle and Tom got the wrong side of the player for the penalty. I don’t know whether it was a penalty or not. The referee was dying to give something, but the bad side of it is that Tom is suspended now and l thought he played really well.
“Next, we get a penalty and I think: OK, the referee has evened it out. People can moan, saying why did Woodsy take it, why not Brendon? But Woodsy takes penalties, it’s as simple as that. Whoever takes responsibility, all you’ve got to do is put the ball in from 12 yards, and Woodsy’s done it enough times at a higher level under big pressures and he felt confident.
“However, the penalty miss isn’t the reason we didn’t put any points on the table. We scored two good goals. It’s the goals we conceded that cost us.”
The sloppy defending certainly cost Alfreton dear because, for most of the game, they played some attractive, fluent football in what was an entertaining clash.
The opening goal for the Minstermen came from a fortuitous chipped cross by Aidan Connolly in the 13th minute that went in off the back post. Alfreton were level 20 minutes later when Cieron Keane picked his spot from 12 yards after a Marcus Marshall cross, and then came chances for either side before the break. Reds’ skipper Craig Disley cleared off the line from Hamza Bencherif’s corner, while at the other end, Billy Priestley almost marked his return from injury with a back-post header that went very close from a Ryan Jennings flagkick.
Another corner from Jennings glanced off the woodwork with Platt heading over to open the second half, and two minutes later, Tom Allan also put his header too high.
Parkin restored the visitors’ advantage in the 52nd minute when he converted Connolly’s cross from close range, but a fantastic strike by Daniels four minutes later saw his free-kick sail into the net from at least 30 yards.
LINE-UPS -- ALFRETON: Elliott; Wood, Allan, Priestley, Keane, Disley, Jennings (Topliss 64), Platt, Marshall, Daniels, Robertson (Shariff 58). Other subs: Westcarr, Everington, Johnson.
YORK: Bartlett; Law, Whittle, Bencherif, Parslow, Moke, Newton, Rowe (Morgan-Smith 55), Parkin, Martin (Gray 73), Connolly (Ferguson 69). Other subs: Wharton, Simpson.
REFEREE: Robert Massey-Ellis
CROWD: 997 (including 389 from York).