Alfreton Town continued to make the Skrill Premier sit up and take notice with their latest win at Wrexham, which was only sealed at the end of five minutes of added time when Chris Westwood headed home against his former club.
It was also the Reds’ third Boxing Day victory since joining football’s top division outside the Football League, following previous wins against Mansfield Town and Tamworth, and their third win at the Racecourse Ground in five visits.
Westwood had returned following injury and operated at right-back with Nick Fenton suspended, whilst Job Ayo Akinde also returned to the front line after missing the last game through accruing five cautions.
Jon Worsnop was preferred to Ross Atkins in goal, which meant for the first time this season manager Nicky Law was able to nominate a goalkeeper on the bench, and some of his saves were undoubtedly responsible for the win.
Wrexham pressed from the off and Worsnop was soon having to hold a powerful drive from Robbie Evans before superbly blocking as Johnny Hunt found space in the area, but when Akinde broke clear from Lathaniel Rowe-Turner’s ninth minute crossfield pass the Reds’ striker could only find the side netting.
Daniel Meadows’ 15th minute free-kick was fumbled by home keeper Andy Coughlin with Akinde firing the loose ball wide, then Worsnop caught Rob Ogleby’s effort at the second attempt from a Joe Anyinsah cross.
Worsnop did fluff a deep Mark Carrington free-kick in the 26th minute, but Rowe-Turner was on hand to hack the ball off the goal-line, then as Alfreton grew in confidence Paul Clayton, Meadows and John McGrath all went close.
McGrath pulled up just before half-time with a suspected cartilage problem and was replaced during the interval by Tom Shaw.
David Artell had to head behind Dan Bradley’s 50th minute cross under pressure, then Clayton nipped in as Coughlin tried to gather Shaw’s shot but took the ball too wide, then Worsnop was in action again on 56 minutes with a stretching save to foil Brett Ormerod.
Wrexham led in the 64th minute after Akinde had handled a left-wing corner, but Neil Ashton’s penalty was so brilliantly saved by Worsnop that concentration might well have momentarily been lost and before the ball could be cleared Carrington pounced to drill home from 12 yards.
Clayton looked certain to score when put through by Akinde in the 71st minute, but chipped both keeper and crossbar from the edge of the six-yard box, although Alfreton were back on level terms just two minutes later - ironically after Clayton had been replaced by Danny Wishart.
It was Michael Wylde who headed home unmarked from a Shaw corner to send the traveling contingent wild, then the roof of the stand was almost lifted off with the roar that greeted Akinde as he latched on to Rowe-Turner’s astute pass to fire home from 25 yards in the 85th minute with Coughlin only able to assist its passage.
Shaw then put Akinde through again only for a weak shot to be forthcoming, and that miss was punished on 87 minutes when Leon Clowes headed in the equaliser from a Hunt corner.
Jay Colbeck thought he had won the game for the hosts a minute from time but Worsnop managed to save despite being caught off balance, then right at the very end of added time Westwood headed home Shaw’s corner with the aid of the crossbar and a memorable game concluded.
ALFRETON: Worsnop; Westwood, Kempson, Wylde, Rowe-Turner, McGrath Shaw (45 mins), Wood, Bradley, Meadows, Clayton (Wishart 72 mins), J.Akinde. Subs not used: Taylor, McFadzean, Atkins.
Attendance: 3371 (52 away)