It was Alfreton Town’s turn to snatch a late, late equaliser when they visited Gainsborough Trinity on Easter Monday afternoon, skipper Dan Bradley smashing home a penalty in the fifth minute of added time.
The referee had originally indicated that just two minutes were to be added, but lengthy treatment to Todd Jordan expanded the additional time, Niall Heaton’s throw leading to an interchange with Cecil Nyoni before the latter was tripped by Jonathan D’Laryea just inside the area.
Jake Picton had given Trinity a 64th minute lead when he rifled home a Simon Russell cross low past Matt Duke, the Reds’ keeper again having made a massive contribution to Alfreton’s cause with a handful of critical saves.
Manager Nicky Law had made wholesale changes following Saturday’s disappointing performance against Gloucester City, although Lindon Meikle was suffering from an injury after limping off on Saturday.
Joining Meikle on the side-lines were Joe Leesley, Jamie Jackson and Andi Thanoj, although the last-named did play for 66 minutes after replacing the injured Ryan Wilson, who had been given a rare start.
Others to benefit from the changes were Tom Allan and Joe Doyle, whilst new loan striker Jamie McDonagh was given his Reds’ debut.
In fact it was McDonagh who was instrumental in Alfreton’s first decent attack, whipping a tenth minute cross into the box, where neither Sam Smith nor Wilson could attain that vital touch.
Eleven minutes later McDonagh took a return pass from Doyle but could only submit a stubbed shot, then on 28 minutes Duke had to be alert as Russell smashed a free-kick through the wall.
Jordan glanced a free header wide from a Thanoj corner, then Duke stuck a leg out to thwart Marc Newsham when he was sent through by Russell, the game swinging to the other end as Smith’s shot from Bradley’s 37th minute cross was intercepted by Gainsborough’s player-manager and former Reds’ defender Dominic Roma.
Home keeper Jan Budtz then made successive eye-catching saves from Bradley and Allan following a very neat Alfreton move, the second half rather tame in comparison until Thanoj blazed over on the hour following blistering pace from Bradley.
Duke held an awkward snap shot from Jamie Yates 60 seconds before the opening goal and Allan’s towering header from a Leesley corner was somehow diverted on to the roof of the net by Adam Quinn with 16 minutes remaining.
Very little excitement ensued until the closing stages, Alfreton’s late leveller ensuring they remained unbeaten on the road since losing at Lowestoft Town in a howling gale on 5th December.
ALFRETON: Duke; Banton, Jordan, Heaton, Allan, Nyoni, Doyle-Charles (Leesley 71), Bradley, Wilson (Thanoj 24), Smith (Jackson 71), McDonagh. Subs not used: Meikle.