Cruel last-minute winner robs FA Trophy braves Alfreton

A heartbreaking goal in the last minute robbed underdogs Alfreton Town of an excellent draw in their Buildbase FA Trophy, Second Round tie at Boreham Wood on Saturday.

Monday, 16th January 2017, 10:41 am
Updated Monday, 16th January 2017, 10:46 am
Niall Heaton, who scored Alfreton Towns goal in their narrow 2-1 defeat at Boreham Wood in the last 32 of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
Niall Heaton, who scored Alfreton Towns goal in their narrow 2-1 defeat at Boreham Wood in the last 32 of the Buildbase FA Trophy.

The game was hardly the spectacle that might have been expected from a clash in the last 32 of a national competition, with both sides seemingly reluctant to take a risk.

But Alfreton, struggling in the bottom five of the National League North, were level at 1-1 and all set to force a replay against a home side, who play a level above them and sit mid-table in what used to be the Conference.

Instead, with seconds left on the clock, Boreham Wood snatched a winner when Anthony Jeffrey was allowed to roam far too freely on the left before delivering the ball on a plate for Kenny Davis to fire past goalkeeper Fabian Spiess.

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The tie had opened with Alfreton boss Nicky Law restoring Cecil Nyoni and Terry Kennedy to a side that had capitulated at Harrogate seven days earlier. Both Mark Shelton and Brad Gascoigne were ineligible.

The Hertfordshire hosts created the first chance when Morgan Ferrier fired across the face of goal after a neat turn. But the Reds responded in kind as Craig Westcarr just missed the back post with a rapidly inswinging corner, and a driven cross by Kallum Mantack was held by ‘keeper Grant Smith, with Paul Clayton homing in.

Boreham Wood took the lead in the 36th minute after a brief spell of intense pressure. Angelo Balanta was given too much rein as he advanced through the old inside-left channel and unleashed a drive into the roof of the net.

Alfreton battled back gamely and equalised 11 minutes into the second half. A cross from the left by Niall Heaton was hurriedly turned behind for a corner, which was floated over by Paul Marshall for Heaton’s close-range header to find the net.

Alfreton might even have grabbed the lead moments later when a volley by Andrew Monkhouse from a free-kick forced Smith into a dramatic save. And at this stage of the game, any neutral fans in the ground would have had difficulty identifying which was the top-flight team.

However, Boreham Wood hit back and after Spiess had saved an angled drive from Mark Ricketts, Danny Woodards somehow missed the target with a free header from a corner.

BOREHAM WOOD: Smith G./ Woodards, Ricketts, Stephens (Paine 45), Davis, Andrade, Ferrier (Shakes 66), Jeffrey, Ilesanmi, Balanta, Devera. SUBS NOT USED: Nunn, Uchechi, Morgan.

ALFRETON TOWN: Spiess/ Mantack, McGowan, Kennedy, Heaton, Nyoni, Marshall, Monkhouse (Hearn 90), Wilson, Westcarr (Priestley 90), Clayton. SUBS NOT USED: Jordan, Smith A.