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Match Report


Posted Sat 07 Mar 15 at 16:45 PM


Harriers extended their winless run to six games as Alfreton Town found the net in each half to take all three points at the Impact Arena.

John Johnston and Karl Hawley got onto the scoresheet for the relegation-threatened side, while Harriers’ goalscoring woes continued - they’ve found the net just six times since the beginning of 2015.

Gary Whild's men remain 10th in the league but fall further behind fifth-placed Forest Green Rovers who beat Barnet this afternoon, while Alfreton moved themselves four points above the drop-zone.

Whild made one change to the Harriers side which drew 0-0 against Halifax last weekend, as Jordan Tunnicliffe replaced Kevin Nicholson.

Harriers lined up with three centre-backs, meaning Jake Green and Jared Hodgkiss were positioned further upfield in a ‘wing back’-type position.

Alfreton also made one alteration to their starting XI after beating AFC Telford United to move out of the relegation zone last Saturday, as Callum Howe came in for Aaron Bentley.

The hosts took the lead after 12 minutes, an avoidable goal for Harriers to concede after they had already carved out several opportunities going forward.

In an Alfreton attack, Karl Hawley took the ball to the byline, with Danny Lewis guarding his near post to anticipate a shot.

As Hawley attempted to hook it across the box, Lewis left the cross for Josh Gowling and a lapse in communication meant the ball fell kindly for the lurking Johnston, who blasted home from close range.

And with 20 minutes remaining, Alfreton were two goals to the good from a set-piece which again should have been defended better by Harriers.

Andi Thanoj’s free-kick to the left of the penalty area was scrappily flicked amongst the box and it was leading scorer Hawley this time who claimed the last touch to guide the ball past Lewis into the bottom corner.

Conceding so early on was harsh on Harriers who had enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges.

Hodgkiss was busy down the right flank and set up both Callum Gittings and Danny Wright inside the opening five minutes - Gittings scuffed a low shot wide from the edge of the box before Wright headed wide.

And shortly before conceding the opener, Harriers could so easily have put themselves in front through Lee Hughes, who remained a thorn in Alfreton’s side throughout.

Two minutes after collecting a high pass and finding Gittings, only for his team-mate to shoot wide, Hughes was then set up himself by Aman Verma as the midfielder surged down the middle.

The striker turned his marker and positioned himself to curl a low strike into the bottom corner, but Town ‘keeper Jason Mooney was wise to the attempt and saved well.

Going behind appeared to unsettle Harriers as Alfreton threatened and could have doubled their advantage; Hawley and Johnston swapped roles and the former called Lewis into action with a close-range effort after 20 minutes.

Verma drove a free-kick in a promising position high and wide shortly after the half-hour mark before another good delivery by Hodgkiss, aiming for a well-placed Hughes, was nipped behind by Town skipper Luke Graham before it reached the striker.

Nicholson replaced Tunnicliffe after the interval as Harriers reverted to four at the back and Green was swapped to right midfield.

It appeared to boost Whild’s side as Green continued his attacking endeavour but had the reliable Hodgkiss behind him as cover.

Seven minutes into the second half, Nicholson almost found Hughes with a delightfully-curling free-kick but it evaded his team-mate and instead was left to Mooney to collect.

And 10 minutes after the interval. Jack Byrne played a tasty through ball in to Wright who showed good skill to cut inside and unfurl a couple of shots; these were blocked and the danger ultimately cleared by Alfreton.

The hard-working Hughes drove Harriers’ advances forward and set up Byrne from the left just after the hour mark, the midfielder tackled on the edge of the box before he could shoot, before crossing from the right five minutes later for Gittings, who fired over under pressure from a red shirt.

But Alfreton took advantage of Harriers' inability to make the most of their chances, forcing Lewis into a save through a low Ironside shot, eight minutes before adding to their tally through Hawley to claim the points.

Both he and substitute Joe Leesley had further efforts for the hosts as the game drew to a close, before a Town counter-attack at the death almost harvested a third through Dan Bradley.

Harriers couldn’t find a response, and have now gone four games without scoring ahead of Tuesday’s clash at home to sixth-placed Eastleigh.

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