Alfreton Town 3, Darlington 1
Alfreton Town pulled off a vital 3-1 win from their Blue Square Bet Premier encounter with troubled Darlington at the Impact Arena on Saturday, despite playing the last 31 minutes with only ten men after Anton Brown had been sent off for a second bookable offence.
The visitors problems have been well documented in recent weeks, but they put up spirited resistance and even took a 28th minute lead although Alfreton’s ultimate victory has drawn the teams level on 28 points.
Goal difference though sees the Reds remain in the relegation zone with Darlington hovering precariously above it, the damage from the visitors’ perspective having been that ten-point deduction last month for entering administration.
Both sides took time to settle on a breezy afternoon, but visiting keeper Jordan Pickford had to punch out an effort from Brown under pressure in the sixth minute, then Nathan Arnold’s angled drive was blocked by Pickford after being sent down the right by Paul Clayton.
Former Derby County player Marc Bridge-Wilkinson forged his way to the by-line before seeing his cross held by Reds’ keeper Dan Lowson in the 12th minute, then the same two players were involved again two minutes later when a venomous drive from 22 yards had to be turned behind.
Following the corner Kris Taylor unleashed a powerful volley that needed tipping over at the last moment by Lowson at full stretch, but Alfreton responded with both Arnold and Clayton going close.
In the 28th minute, Darlington took the lead.
Adam Rundle’s deflected shot was palmed aside by Lowson, but only as far as Ryan Bowman who rifled the ball home from six yards.
But the Reds were level by the 33rd minute after Anthony Wilson had sent Arnold clear before slotting coolly past Pickford.
Alfreton took a 58th minute lead after Wilson had forced the ball through to Jarman, whose stinging drive was fumbled by Pickford before Clayton followed up from virtually on the goal-line.
Next minute Brown was sent off after receiving a second yellow card, but to their immense credit the Reds kept pushing forward and did not allow Darlington to settle into any sort of rhythm from that point and in the 70th minute they extended their lead to 3-1.
Once again it was a well-taken goal by Arnold, who finished the move by steering the ball through the keeper’s legs after Clayton had sent him clear.
Alfreton: Lowson; Streete, Quinn, Kempson, Young, Moult (Law 86), Brown, Jarman, Arnold, Clayton (Hall 86), A.Wilson (Clay 64). Subs not used: Mullan, Franklin.
Attendance: 950 (inc. 245 visitors).