Alfreton Town held to draw after blowing lead

Craig Westcarr gave Alfreton the lead at AFC Telford.
Craig Westcarr gave Alfreton the lead at AFC Telford.

Alfreton Town blew a half-time lead as they were held to their first away draw of the season at AFC Telford United.

Craig Westcarr had given the Reds a 13th minute lead from the penalty spot after Sam Smith had been impeded by Ben Bailey, the move stemming from Paul Clayton’s off-balance pass to Westcarr before the defender’s initial error let in the advancing Smith.

Niall Heaton had already floated a deep cross on to the roof of the net and Smith had hooked wide from a Clayton lay-off as Alfreton began the game positively, Telford unable to make their presence felt until the 19th minute when Heaton had to hack clear once a long Ben O’Hanlon throw had caused confusion.

Mark Shelton linked with Clayton before seeing his effort blocked, then a driven cross by Heaton eluded the outstretched legs of both Smith and Clayton before a lethal inswinging corner by Westcarr caused home keeper James Montgomery to paw clear at full stretch.

Telford came much more to the fore after the interval with Elliot Hodge forcing an early second half corner following a dangerous and swift break, Josh Wilson then cutting in from the right before firing wide, but the Reds produced a telling move in the 55th minute that saw Clayton’s near post effort saved after Westcarr had sent Shelton to the by-line.

Telford were level by the 62nd minute when Bradley Reid lashed home a Wilson cross from 12 yards, the Reds then having to withstand some heavy pressure as the hosts sought a vital decider, keeper Ross Etheridge pulling off defiant saves from Wilson and Reid before Gianluca Havern fired straight at the keeper with ten minutes remaining.

Alfreton’s main attempt in response was generated by Cecil Nyoni’s withering run down the left in added time, which led to Clayton’s pull-back for Westcarr and Shelton’s subsequent shot from outside the area being held by Montgomery.

In the fifth minute of additional time Telford should have snatched victory, but Wilson shot tamely at Etheridge as the Alfreton defence stood in anticipation of an off-side decision that never came, the home striker probably caught in the same mind to be fair.

TELFORD: Montgomery; Samuels, O’Hanlon, Bailey, Havern, McCone (Hodge 45 mins), Kissock, Rea, Reid (Hibbert 79 mins), J.Wilson, Fitzpatrick.

SUBS NOT USED: McCarthy, Reynolds, Cowan.

ALFRETON: Etheridge; R.Wilson, McGowan, Kennedy (Jordan 66 mins), Heaton, Nyoni, Monkhouse, Shelton, Westcarr, Clayton, S.Smith (Priestley 45 mins).

SUBS NOT USED: Mantack, Marshall, Hearn.

REFEREE: Aaron Jackson.