Alfreton Town pulled off a surprise win at Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday to regain sixth spot in the Skrill Premier.
The away victory just hours after rushing to sign goalkeeper Jon Worsnop on a one match basis from FC United Manchester with Ross Atkins injured.
Added to that had been an obvious loss of confidence by the Reds with four straight defeats without scoring, culminating in an embarrassing loss to Heanor Town in the Derbyshire Senior Cup in midweek.
In an effort to turn the tide manager Nicky Law fielded a largely defensive line-up at Aggborough with John Akinde the lone frontrunner, and despite the lack of goals stretching to a worrying 484 minutes Alfreton overcame a half-time deficit with Michael Wylde claiming his first two goals for the club.
Having won by the same score earlier in the season the Reds recorded only their second double since being promoted to the Conference Premier, after beating Bath City twice in their opening season.
Kidderminster started the game positively with Joe Lolley firing just wide in the fourth minute from 15 yards following a useful cross from Michael Gash, then two minutes later Lolley curled a deflected shot beyond the back post from a Lee Fowler pass with Worsnop fisting clear the ensuing corner.
Fowler went close from 18 yards in the 11th minute and Amari Morgan-Smith missed from close range from a right-wing corner as Kidderminster continued to push forward, but the opening goal was on the horizon.
Alfreton failed to prevent Morgan-Smith from breaking free in the 17th minute and his pace allowed Callum Gittings to sweep the ball in from just inside the area with the assistance of the foot of the upright, and with Harriers leading 1-0 the Reds’ were facing an uphill struggle.
Worsnop smothered the ball at Lolley’s feet as the striker threatened again in the 24th minute, then in a rare Reds’ attack Tom Shaw fired over from 25 yards against his former club, then in the latter stages of the first half Worsnop forced Lolley wide when clear and the danger was averted.
Chris Westwood had been replaced at half-time by Daniel Meadows following a calf niggle, but the change was as instrumental as anything in bringing about Alfreton’s resurgence.
However the first chance of the second half was squandered by the hosts when Mickey Demetriou hooked wide from a deep Danny Jackman cross. but Alfreton were able to draw level on 52 minutes following a mix-up between defender Chey Dunkley and keeper Danny Lewis.
The alert Akinde latched on to Dunkley’s weak back-header to force the ball across the edge of the six-yard box for Wylde to stroke home right in front of the traveling fans.
Worsnop earned the admiration of supporters in the 55th minute with two defiant saves that allowed Alfreton to stay in contention, first of all stretching to turn aside Morgan-Smith’s shot from the edge of the area then from the corner tipping over Gash’s powerful header.
Two more confident saves by Worsnop from Morgan-Smith soon followed, but sandwiched inbetween Shaw’s 61st minute corner at the other end led to Nick Fenton’s header being scrambled off the line.
Alfreton edged ahead in the 68th minute moments after former Ilkeston striker Morgan-Smith had been sent off for a second bookable offence, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner taking the free-kick on the half-way line before Shaw’s shot was turned in by Wylde again from six yards.
When Akinde scurried clear in the 72nd minute from Meadows’ astute pass it looked like a bad miss by the striker, but Lewis must have deflected it behind with a faint touch as the referee awarded a corner, then in response Kyle Storer fired woefully wide with the hosts visibly shaken.
Twelve minutes from time Gash’s full-blooded free-kick from the edge of the area was palmed over by Worsnop, then Lewis beat out a less venomous Dan Bradley free-kick before the Kidderminster keeper turned aside Akinde’s strong angled drive.
It was Akinde who deservedly settled the issue 90 seconds from time after Lewis had upended him as he advanced to the by-line, stroking the resultant penalty low into the corner of the net.
Alfreton: Worsnop; Fenton, Kempson, Wylde, Rowe-Turner, Franklin, Westwood [Meadows h/t], Wood, Shaw, Bradley, J.Akinde.
Subs not used: Taylor, Clayton, Wishart, McFadzean.
Attendance: 1,834 (57).