Alfreton Town faced a replay at Lincoln City on Tuesday night after recovering from conceding a tenth minute penalty in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Karl Hawley eventually evened out the tie in the 65th minute as the Reds emerged the stronger side after the interval - however the injury list was stretched even further in the process with Jake Sheridan, Bradley Wood and new loanee keeper James Severn all taking knocks.
Sheridan had regained his place in midfield following the return of David Mellor to Oldham Athletic, but was subject to a crunching tackle by Marcus Marshall in the 60th minute that saw the Lincoln player booked.
Severn had been drafted in from Scunthorpe United in midweek with Sheffield Wednesday refusing to allow Cameron Dawson to play in the F.A.Cup, but a brave blocking tackle on the edge of his area in the 17th minute to foil Arnaud Mendy clearly hurt.
Wood’s knee injury only became evident late in the tie, and he needed to be assisted off the pitch at the end with a splint strapped to his leg.
An early cross from Sean Newton whistled through the Alfreton goalmouth with Jordan Burrow just unable to connect as Lincoln began on the front foot, and following further pressure from the lmps Tom Davies was lured into impeding Marshall on the edge of the area and Newton fired the visitors ahead from the spot.
Paul Clayton volleyed wide for the Reds from 18 yards following Nat Brown’s poor clearance in the 15th minute, then Severn punched clear another driven Newton cross
moments after becoming injured.
Davies was able to clear an Alan Power shot that had failed to live up to his name, then on 26 minutes Tom Shaw’s free-kick bobbled past the back post, and three minutes later Duane Courtney set up Wood for a cross that Lincoln keeper Paul Farman was able to deal with.
Hawley fired high and wide from a central free-kick, then Clayton just failed to reach Anthony Howell’s cross following a Sheridan throw-in as Alfreton began to make their presence felt, but Thierry Audel missed a glorious chance to double Lincoln’s advantage when he headed wide from close range from Newton’s 38th minute cross.
Three minutes after the break Burrow’s downward header was only just wide after Marshall’s raking run down the right, then former Alfreton striker Ben Tomlinson sliced his shot so wide that it drifted out for a throw.
Another powerful downward header by Burrow from a 58th minute corner saw Wood exercising his reflexes by somehow scooping the ball off the line, then at the other end Hawley’s looping header from Howell’s cross was clutched by Farman.
Luke Graham blocked Tomlinson’s effort in the 62nd minute, but a swift break instigated by Wood led to Alfreton’s equaliser three minutes later, with Dan Bradley sprinting down the right before finding an unmarked Hawley seven yards out to calmly stroke the ball home.
Two minutes further on and the Reds almost struck again when Tom Shaw’s through-ball was flicked on by Clayton, but Hawley on this occasion was surrounded by anxious defenders.
Davies headed over at the back post from Howell’s 72nd minute corner, then a rare slip by Wood let Tomlinson in, but after taking the ball wide Lathaniel Rowe-Turner was able to restrict his delivery.
Another swift break led to Farman turning aside Hawley’s attempt at settling the tie on the day, then with six minutes remaining Hawley took a return pass from Clayton before going perilously close.
Severn recovered quickly after initially fumbling Power’s shot, then Burrow fired wide for Lincoln, but another wayward pass from Brown almost set up a late winner for the Reds as Farman raced out to block from Clayton.
ALFRETON: Severn; Wood, Davies, Graham, Rowe-Turner, Courtney (Keane 51), Sheridan (Bradley 60), Shaw (McDonald 84), Howell, Clayton, Hawley.
Subs not used: Hicks, Ironside.