Match report: Alfreton 1 Telford 1

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Alfreton Town will have been disappointed to have been held to a draw at home by AFC Telford United on Saturday, after squandering an interval lead.

The visitors had taken 34 minutes to muster a shot at goal as the Reds dominated the first half, and after twice being denied by good saves from Telford keeper Ryan Young striker Ben Tomlinson finally made a chance count as the game entered its 45th minute.

It was the third time in recent home games that this scoring pattern had emerged, with Alfreton having bossed first halves against Braintree Town and Kidderminster Harriers to lead before a weaker second half performance had let the opposition back in for a 1-1 draw.

On the plus side though it was a third successive game unbeaten with just one goal conceded following two clean sheets, while the only defeat in the 10 games played over the last eight weeks was at the hands of Grimsby Town who had won 2-0 at the Impact Arena on October 9.

A low drive from Daniel Meadows after taking a return pass from Nathan Arnold was held by Young in the fifth minute, then an effort from Dan Bradley cannoned off Jon Brown into the keeper’s arms.

Ross Killock headed wide at the back post from Josh Law’s 15th minute free-kick, then Connor Franklin fired over from 12 yards after being teed up by Theo Streete.

A particularly good save by Young thwarted Tomlinson after latching on to a loose ball 20 yards out in the 21st minute, then Bradley volleyed wide from distance.

At last the visitors made inroads having been content to soak up all the pressure, but Killock’s timely tackle prevented Steve Jones’ pass from sending Jamie Spray through on goal.

Phil Trainer’s 20 yarder was held by Reds’ keeper Jon Stewart 11 minutes before the break, then back at the other end Young turned aside another powerful strike by Tomlinson from a Meadows pass.

Trainer missed a relatively easy chance for United as Steve Leslie whipped a free-kick across the face of Stewart’s goal, then on 39 minutes Tomlinson dragged his shot wide after side-stepping a couple of defenders from Paul Clayton’s pass.

A weak Streete header was held from a Meadows cross, but Alfreton took a 45th minute lead when Tomlinson’s low drive from 16 yards finally beat Young to nestle in the corner of the net following Bradley’s crossfield pass.

Spray volleyed wide as the visitors stepped up a gear at the start of the second half, then Killock had to come to the Reds’ rescue again as Brown’s lethal cross into a crowded box was converged upon.

Clayton fired straight at Young from eight yards in the 61st minute after Killock had laid off a Law free-kick, then in response Leslie fired wide after being set up by Kieron St. Aimie.

Out of the blue though a spectacular 30 yard effort from Chris Sharp curled into the roof of the net to level proceedings in the 69th minute, then almost immediately Jones’ angled drive just evaded the far post as Alfreton found themselves pegged back in defence.

Next minute Darran Kempson had to tackle back to prevent Leslie making further progress after being allowed to wander into the area, then Killock cleared again as Trainer latched on to a Kris Taylor free-kick.

An incredible saving tackle by Law had to be seen to be believed as Jones was about to walk the ball in after weaving his way past Stewart in the 80th minute, but somehow the Reds’ long-serving defender managed to intervene virtually on the line.

Anton Brown, back in action after a lengthy lay-off through injury, had taken the field in the 71st minute and hooked over from 12 yards after a neat turn with seven minutes remaining.

Then a brilliant triple save by Young in the 89th minute almost certainly kept Telford on level terms, first of all parrying Arnold’s angled drive at his near post before blocking Tomlinson’s follow-up with his legs.

Then from the ensuing corner Killock’s powerful header was again parried by the keeper, but Alfreton almost threw it away even then with Stewart inexplicably fumbling a Leslie shot in added time before Kempson hacked clear.

ALFRETON: Stewart; Law, Kempson, Killock, Franklin, Meadows, Streete, Bradley, Arnold, Clayton (Brown 71), Tomlinson.

Other subs: Taylor, Franks, Russell, Worsfold.

Att: 572 (78)