Alfreton Town’s play-off ambitions all but evaporated with Tuesday night’s home defeat to relegation haunted Aldershot Town, with the Reds outplayed in a lively encounter.
Manager Nicky Law made three changes from Saturday’s home draw with Welling United, bringing in Darran Kempson, Andrai Jones and Daniel Meadows at the expense of Michael Hoganson, Elliott Whitehouse and Shaun Harrad.
The Reds set off at a blistering pace, forcing a trio of early corners, but Kempson headed past the far post and Jones saw his shot blocked by Mark Phillips before Aldershot took an 11th minute lead against the run of play.
Nick Fenton had impeded Adam Mekki on the edge of the area and Martin Rowlands’ superbly struck free-kick left Reds’ keeper Jon Worsnop with no chance of reaching it as it arrowed into the bottom corner of the net.
Mani Oyeleke’s shot was then blocked by Kempson from Mekki’s cross, then the visitors struck again in the 15th minute when Mekki’s corner was headed past Worsnop by Phillips at the near post.
Clearly stunned Alfreton almost clawed their way back into the contest when Josh Law’s dipping free-kick needed tipping over at full stretch by Shots’ keeper Glen Morris after Job Ayo Akinde had been sandwiched between two defenders 25 yards from goal.
Oyeleke’s 29th minute effort was held by Worsnop and Fenton’s timely tackle halted Josh Scott’s progress, whilst Lathaniel Rowe-Turner’s cross at the other end whistled through the goalmouth from Akinde’s pass.
Just 20 seconds after the interval Daniel Meadows released Dan Bradley, whose cross just evaded Akinde with Fenton heading wide from the ensuing corner, then in response Phillips headed over from a Dan Butler flag-kick.
In the 50th minute Law was just wide with a free-kick after being brought down by Scott. then five minutes later Meadows unleashed a shot from the edge of the area that struck the crossbar.
Alfreton were rewarded with a 56th minute goal when Akinde was left with a simple tap-in from a Law cross from the left, but Aldershot were 3-1 ahead just 50 seconds later when Oyeleke steered the ball home from ten yards after Worsnop had parried Mekki’s shot.
Bradley smashed the ball against the underside of the crossbar in the 59th minute, without the controversy that had shrouded the final minute of the Welling game, then two minutes later Mark Moseley was denied by the upright as he sought to score Aldershot’s fourth goal.
Bradley went close from the edge of the area, but the Hampshire visitors scored again on 66 minutes when Molesley cut in from the left to rifle past Worsnop from eight yards.
Bradley Wood’s brave tackle prevented Craig Stanley from adding a fifth goal 15 minutes from time, then four minutes later Harrad’s overhead kick was turned behind by Morris before Fenton headed on to the roof of the net from the corner.
Alfreton remain in sixth spot in the Skrill Premier, one place outside the play-offs, but would have been elevated to fourth had they won, while Aldershot still languish in the drop zone with their ten-point deduction at the start of the season weighing heavily upon them.
Alfreton: Worsnop; Jones, Fenton, Kempson, Rowe-Turner, Law, Wood, Poku [Harrad 73], Bradley, Meadows, Akinde. Subs not used: Franklin, Shaw, Hoganson, Wildsmith.