Alfreton Town slipped to within one point of the bottom three of the National League North on Saturday after conceding a goal after just 17 seconds in a 3-2 ‘six-pointer’ loss to visitors Boston United .
The away side claimed a two-goal half-time lead as Ashley Hemmings struck twice from the penalty-spot in the opening 13 minutes.
Alfreton rallied with two goals in four minutes through debutant Frank Mulhearn andsubstitute Craig Westcarr, but Jordan Keane grabbed an 80th minute winner to take Boston above the Reds.
Angry Alfreton manager John McDermott said: “We have just given them two Christmas presents haven’t we? Seven seconds, a penalty and we are up against it.
“Then the second one is exactly the same stupid mistake we made in the first minute. Why are we doing it again?”
Alex Cover and Tom Allan conceded the penalties for fouls on Reece Thompson, with Tom Platt’s header over the bar the only positive response in a dismal first half for the Reds.
The introduction of Westcarr inspired the home side after the break.
In the 59th minute Mulhern headed in a Cieron Keane cross and four minutes later Westcarr took full advantage of a slip by the keeper as he tried to field a back-pass.
But the Reds’ momentum was lost after a delay following an injury that saw ex-Reds’ favourite Brad McGowan stretchered off.
Keane lashed in the winner off the underside of the bar after a corner was not cleared.
McDermott added: “Cieron [Keane] put in a great cross that Frank [Mulhern] headed in and we had a bit more belief, more fight, got around them and rattled them.
“Then it’s forcing them to make mistakes and Westy [Craig Westcarr] scores and you think only one team’s going to win it now.
“All we have to do is defend the corner and it’s gone to my back post and all we’ve done is turn round and moan at each other, but the ball was still in play.
“Instead of getting behind the ball, clearing it, whatever you have to do (we allowed) him to run after it, turn, walk up the by-line and pull it back to an unmarked player, who slams it in — how?”
ALFRETON: Elliott; Cover, Shiels, Allan, C.Keane, Wood, Platt, Burdett [Jennings 82], Daniels, Day [Westcarr h/t], Mulhern.
Other subs: Disley, Topliss, Johnson.
BOSTON: Willis; Middleton, Brogan, Thanoj, J.Keane, McGowan [Walker 73], Rollins, Abbott, Thompson [Beatson 90+7], Tshimango [Bennett 68], Hemmings.
other subs: Curry, Smith.
Referee: Martin Woods.