Alfreton Town returned from their furthest trip east with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Lowestoft Town on Saturday, although once again they created and squandered numerous chances.
Several enforced changes would not have helped the Reds’ cause, with Jordan Robertson and Joe Leesley injured, Ryan Wilson ill and both Cliff Moyo and Sam Jones unavailable.
However Lindon Meikle had arrived from Macclesfield Town during the week and Sam Berry had returned from a loan spell at Mickleover Sports, but even then only two outfield players could be named on the bench.
Dan Bradley lined up despite being out for over a month with an injury, the players greeted by a strong, biting wind that favoured the visitors in the opening 45 minutes.
Joe lronside was the first player to generate a shot at goal, set up by Jamie Jackson after two minutes, with home keeper Ben Killip saving comfortably.
Lowestoft reacted immediately and Matt Duke prevented Danny Crow from finding the top corner of the net with a flying save.
A long run by Harry Barker ended with Tom Allan impeding him and Lowestoft were awarded a penalty in the 11th minute, which was taken by Jack Ainsley.
The central defender had converted no less than 14 spot-kicks last season for the Trawlerboys, but proceeded to steer this one against the inside of Duke’s left-hand upright.
Niall Heaton’s long throw was worked back to him on the left flank in the 21st minute, his subsequent delivery being headed wide at the back post by Allan.
lronside then managed to miss from six yards with a clear header after being set up by Andi Thanoj, then in the 27th minute Killip had to punch clear an awkward Meikle cross following a Thanoj corner.
Thanoj was next to miss a gilt-edged chance one minute later, driving wide from close range after more good work by Jackson, then in the 34th minute Todd Jordan blasted a Jackson cross over from six yards.
It had been virtually one way traffic as the wind howled across Crown Meadow at the backs of the Reds’ players, but just before half-time the hosts managed to force the ball forwards with Shaun Bammant just evading the back post from a Crow free-kick.
Adam Smith’s wind-assisted 49th minute corner had to be beaten out by Duke, then Allan wasted yet another clear chance for the Reds six minutes later, initially heading a Thanoj corner before blasting wide.
Duke had to deal with a Rossi Jarvis free-kick in the 58th minute, with Lowestoft scoring the only goal of the game nine minutes later, ironically on a break from another Alfreton miss.
Jordan had seen his shot charged down after an initial miskick, with Ryan Jarvis latching on to the loose ball before sending Jake Reed through to slot the ball low past Duke.
Alfreton simply could not manage to emege from their own half to respond as the wind intensified, and the only noteworthy event in the latter stages was a strong run by Harvey Hodd that culminated with Bradley Woods-Garness going close for Lowestoft with an overhead kick.
With Reed having scored in their 1-0 win at the lmpact Arena back in August Lowestoft were able to celebrate their first ever League double at Vanarama National League North level.
LOWESTOFT: Killip; Barker, A.Smith, Hodd, Ainsley, Spillane, Ryan Jarvis, Rossi Jarvis, Reed, Crow (Woods-Garness 60 mins), Bammant. Subs not used: Mason, Henderson, Eagle, Jessup.
ALFRETON: Duke; Galinski, Berry, Allan, Heaton, Jordan (S.Smith 87 mins), Bradley, Thanoj (Johnston 76 mins), Meikle, lronside, Jackson. Sub not used: Draper.
Referee: Ashvin Degnarain.
Star Man: Jamie Jackson.