Darlington 1 Alfreton Town 1 - Tuesday, 23rd August

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ALFRETON Town learned the lessons of their Forest Green hammering to bounce back in impressive fashion against Darlington.

The Reds claimed their first away point of the season at the Northern Echo arena after Nathan Jarman fired home from the penalty spot in the 82 minute.

The successful attempt from 12 yards also banished the memories of two missed spot-kicks in the opening day defeat against Hayes and Yeading.

Darlington had led from the 47th minute when James Walshaw fired low past Alfreton keeper Dan Lowson from six yards following a raking through-ball from Marc Bridge-Wilkinson,

But the game never really opened up until the 80th minute.

That was when Alfreton suddenly stepped up a gear as their growing confidence kicked in, with Anton Brown being put through by Paul Clayton only for home keeper Sam Russell to concede a corner.

Josh Law delivered and Clayton’s sharp drive was cleared to Brown six yards out before the ball was scrambled behind again, with the subsequent corner leading to the penalty award.

Darlington surged forward in a desperate bid to clinch victory, with Lowson pulling off a good save to thwart John McReady.

Then, as Matt Wilson slipped in the 86th minute, Greg Taylor cut in and a goal looked imminent.

Lowson though had other ideas and, despite his stretching parry falling to John Campbell, the visiting keeper recovered his position in time to save the follow-up.

Connor Franklin blocked another Campbell effort as Alfreton were forced to endure five minutes of added time, which saw them happily play the ball into touch several times just to give themselves breathing space.

However the most blatant miss of the game came at the end of the third minute of that torturous period when Ryan Bowman blazed wide from six yards when it looked easier to score, with Campbell’s cross from the right having carved the opening.

Speaking after the game a delighted Nicky Law said: “We had to forget the Forest Green game quickly and I had to pick a team to go and try and win the Darlington game.

“I felt we needed a few changes and made them. I am not singling anyone out, it was just horses for courses.

“Sometimes you lose focus. We have come to a new level and we are still finding our feet. We have to stay close-knit and stick together. That is the way forward. It is going to be hard, but that is what we are going to have to do.

“Hopefully we can keep plugging away, working hard and put in more performances like we did at Darlington.

“All I ask is that the players go out there and give 100 per cent, close things down, compete and challenge for first and second ball and the rest will follow.

“It doesn’t work the other way around. You can’t try and play football first.

“We have learned plenty of lessons from last Saturday’s horror show. Sometimes you just need to get the first goal. We should have had it last Saturday and could have done so at Darlington.

“There were four individual errors and we conceded two from set-plays which is something we rarely do.

“We did well in spells, kept possession and passed the ball well. But we got punished as you do at this level for not doing the right things.”

“That was the pleasing thing on Tuesday, we have learned from that and so long as they do what they are good at, we will be ok.”

The Reds now face a massive seven days in which they