Manager Billy Heath admitted there would be no quick fix after injury-hit Alfreton lost 3-0 at a rain-swept Chester City.
“We’re depleted in numbers and we’ve got players playing with knocks,” he said.
“l can’t fault the commitment, but at the moment we are what we are — too many players injured and that’s not going to be fixed quickly.
“Bobby Johnson’s come off again and we’ve got other players carrying (injuries).
“Killer (Shane Killock) has played his first game in months after one training session because he’s had to play.
“We’ve got too many players not fully fit having to play and that’s the way it is”
Although the Reds created more chances than the Seals in the first half, only returning defender Killock went close with a header on top of the crossbar in the 34th minute.
Chester had not even mustered a single shot on target by this time, but 60 seconds later took the lead in bizarre circumstances. Matty Waters’ free-kick led to a goalmouth scramble before the ball bobbled across the line from prone Simon Grand’s attempted goalline clearance.
One minute into the second half Chester doubled their lead through Danny Livesey at a left-wing corner.
The third goal was sheer pantomime season. With one minute remaining a Chester ‘goal’ direct from a corner was disallowed for a foul on keeper Charlie Andrew. He shaped to take a free-kick before a Reds’ defender, thinking the goal had been given, kicked the ball towards the half-way line but Danny Elliott intercepted and ran on to score.
Heath reflected: “l thought we had the best chances before they scored the first goal. We were dealing quite comfortably with anything they threw at us, then we conceded the goal, which was a cheap one.
“We didn’t win the first header, then it drops and somehow finds it’s way into the net - l’m not sure who scored it, it may have been an own goal off somebody’s back.
“Charlie hadn’t had a shot to save apart from the goal in the first half, while Amari and Killer [Killlock] have put shots over the bar as well as Killer hitting the crossbar, so we said after the break to keep to the game plan but conceded another cheap goal.
“The first cross was dealt with but the second cross drops and he’s put it in.
“The third one was a debacle - the players didn’t even know what the referee had given l’ve been around a long time and never seen that before, where literally the players think he’s given a goal - he’s not, he’s given a foul, we’ve kicked the ball back towards the half-way line, straight to their player and the referee lets the goal stand.”
ALFRETON: Andrew; Clackstone, Smith, Qualter, Killock, Thacker, East [Grice 59], Johnson [Whitham 66], Clarke, Blake [Bacon 64], Morgan-Smith.
Other subs: Bennett, Atkinson.
Referee: Richard Holmes.