A much improved performance by Alfreton Town from the previous home game against Woking could not prevent a seventh home defeat in the Blue Square Bet Premier on Saturday.
The same starting line-up that had won so convincingly at Cambridge United in midweek began the game brightly, but the eventual winners were Macclesfield Town with goals from Thierry Audel and Waide Fairhurst on 31 and 58 minutes respectively.
Paul Clayton registered his 13th league goal and his 17th in total this season with a 36th minute equaliser as the Reds’ frustrating home form continued, with four defeats at the Impact Arena already in 2013.
Early action saw Clayton’s fourth minute shot saved by keeper Rhys Taylor’s legs from a Leigh Franks’ pass, then in the eighth minute Steven Hewitt took a return pass from Daniel Meadows before seeing his shot spin off Audel to be clutched by Taylor.
Franks then had a 15th minute shot cleared off the line by Craig Braham-Barrett following defensive confusion and a further 11 minutes had elapsed before the visitors tested Phil Barnes, the Reds’ keeper saving a deflected effort from just outside the area by Sam Wedgbury.
The build-up to the opening goal stemmed from Fairhurst’s swift break that necessitated an accurate tackle by Franks to concede the first corner of the game, but Audel was left unmarked at the near post for a simple header as John-Paul Kissock floated the ball in.
The Silkmen’s lead lasted only five minutes though until Josh Law’s superb free-kick picked out Clayton at the back post, where the striker slid the ball in from five yards.
Three minutes before the break Audel flashed a header just wide from a deep free-kick, then the same player landed the ball on the roof of the net from 16 yards as the second half commenced with Macclesfield attacking.
A flying save by Barnes on 57 minutes dealt with Fairhurst’s curling shot following a back-heel by Keiran Murtagh, then moments later the same combination produced the winning goal when Murtagh smashed a free-kick against the post and Fairhurst followed up with a diving header from close range.
Hewitt almost drew the sides level with a scorching 62nd minute free-kick that Taylor spotted very late before diving low to his left to push it away, then an immediate response saw Barnes having to tip over Fairhurst’s 20 yard rasper.
A snap shot from Hewitt went close on 64 minutes, but the action swung quickly the other way and as Dean McDonald broke clear Barnes had to parry and Law had to intercept to prevent a goal from the follow-up.
A rare triple substitution freshened up Alfreton’s approach in the 67th minute and Taylor was soon forced to tip over a powerful Nathan Arnold shot from 18 yards, then Dan Bradley’s effort from similar distance also needed saving six minutes later.
Ben Tomlinson was not far off an equaliser ten minutes from time from a tight angle, then Scott Boden did all the hard work by forcing the ball to the by-line before seeing his tame effort held comfortably by Taylor.
Macclesfield almost added a third goal in added time when Matthew Barnes-Homer unleashed a shot that struck Franks in the back before drifting behind for a harmless corner.
ALFRETON: Barnes; Law, Franks, Kempson, Franklin, Streete (Soares 67), Bradley, Meadows (Boden 67), Hewitt, Arnold, Clayton (Tomlinson 67).
Subs not used: Worsfold, Killock.
Att: 740 (160)