Alfreton Town were left wondering just how they were beaten 2-1 by Boston United after dominating proceedings on Saturday.
Such was the territorial advantage that the Reds held that the hosts could muster only two attempts at goal and two corners in the entire 90 minutes, yet managed to score twice.
Meanwhile, particularly in the first half, Alfreton peppered the Pilgrims’ shaky defence with shots, whilst only succeeding in the shadow of half-time through Sam Jones.
To make matters worse defender Cliff Moyo picked up a second yellow card to receive his marching orders 12 minutes from time.
Manager Nicky Law recalled Joe Leesley to the side at Niall Heaton’s expense, the midfielder having just served a one-match suspension, with Dan Bradley once again partnering Jordan Robertson up front as Jamie Jackson was forced to pull out of the squad unfit before kick-off.
Early inroads were made by the Reds, with Andi Thanoj unleashing a fifth minute shot that took a deflection to cause home keeper Henrich Ravas problems at his near post, Ravas then having to stretch to tip over Tom Allan’s volley after Stefan Galinski had headed on a Leesley corner.
Both Robertson and Galinski saw headers blocked from a Leesley free-kick in the 18th minute, then another deflected Thanoj shot was held by Ravas following a blistering run to the bye-line by Bradley and a neat lay-off from Jones.
The ball flashed around the Boston goalmouth pin-ball fashion without a direct shot at goal, but the home side broke swiftly to take a surprise 31st minute lead, totally against the run of play, Dayle Southwell’s run down the left allowing Grant Roberts to sweep the ball past Matt Duke from just outside the area.
Another Leesley corner ten minutes later saw Thanoj tee up Bradley for a shot that smashed against the underside of the crossbar before rebounding to safety, then Duke comfortably held a Mark Jones header in a rare Boston attack.
Alfreton at last found the net in the 44th minute to deservedly draw level, Galinski’s astute through-ball finding Jones, who neatly steered the ball past Ravas from close range.
The Reds could not quite maintain their invasive momentum after the break, although Galinski and Thanoj both went close before Jones had a header cleared off the line in the 56th minute, Robertson then vehemently claiming a penalty in vain as he vied with Liam Marrs for the loose ball.
Having finally won their first corner after an hour’s play Boston were dealt a blow with a serious injury to Richard Jones, who had fallen awkwardly on two occasions,
then Thanoj went desperately close with a 72nd minute free-kick after Alfreton’s Jones had been scythed down on the edge of the area.
Just four minutes later and again against the run of play United snatched the winning goal when Ryan Robbins ran on to a Cameron Johnson through-ball to beat Duke low at his near post.
Moyo’s dismissal unsettled the Reds, but they kept plugging away without reward, Boston content to soak up the pressure and muster just one more attack in which Southwell fired meekly at Duke from a Robbins cross.
ALFRETON: Duke; Moyo, Allan, Galinski (Berry 84 mins), Jordan, Wilson, Thanoj (Heaton 83 mins), Leesley, Jones (lronside 84 mins), Bradley, Robertson.
Sub not used: Draper.