Alfreton Town 2 Nuneaton Town 2
Saturday 30th January, 2016;
Nuneaton twice let a lead slip against in-form Alfreton but gained a well earned point for their efforts.
Goals from Marlon Harewood and Elliott Whitehouse were cancelled out quickly by the home side, as individual errors spoiled what would have been a good away day win.
In what was a poor first half it was Boro who started the brighter, Tyrell Waite sending a shot into the side-netting inside the first ten minutes, Elliott Whitehouse then fired one wide not long after.
It was not a half of clear-cut chances, though, as Alfreton keeper Matt Duke was only needed sporadically, to deny a low effort from Marlon Harewood and also from James Reid.
Jordan Smith at the other end, meanwhile, had even less to do.
The action was contained to the middle of the pitch as Alfreton battled well but only showed glimpses of real quality.
In the bitter cold the fans would have been hoping for a better second half – and they got it.
Only four minutes had been played after the restart before the opening goal was scored, a controversial one it was at that.
Shane Byrne was alleged to be fouled in the box by Todd Jordan, Marlon Harewood slotted home the spot-kick, but only at the second attempt as Duke had saved his first effort.
The Boro had only won once in their previous nine league games going into the encounter so knew that they now had to defend well to gain all three points.
They knew a reaction would come from Alfreton, and it did, but it was Nuneaton who were the architects of their own downfall.
Less than 10 minutes after taking the lead the Boro were pulled back to level pegging, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner delayed a clearance that in the next passage of play saw Sam Jones score a smart equaliser.
Alfreton failed to capitalise on their goal, though, as although shaken, Boro were never really tested after Jones drew his side level.
Instead it was the visitors who moved back onto the front foot, and who were rewarded for upping the ante with a second goal.
It was a fantastically worked one from Nuneaton as a series of sharp passes ended with a fine one-two in the box between Whitehouse and Harewood with Whitehouse sending a low shot past Duke.
The Boro once again knew that a big ten minutes of defensive stability was needed, but once again they allowed Alfreton back into the game.
An injury had led Boro boss Kevin Wilson to take off midfield man James Reid and bring on defender Joe Maguire – but even with the extra man at the back, Alfreton’s Jones was allowed far too much room in the box.
The striker was left almost unmarked from a right wing cross, and he adapted his body well to send the ball back across goal and past a helpless Smith.
It was the final goal of what proved to be an action packed second half, one which the Boro did enough to win the game in, but one in which they also showed a sloppiness that could yet cost them a place in the play-offs this season.
ALFRETON TOWN: Duke, Moyo, Jordan, Allan, McGowan, Thanoj, Leesley, Meikle, Jones, Smith (Jackson 71 ) Bradley.
Subs not used: Robertson, Wilson, Nyoni, Heaton.
NUNEATON TOWN: J.Smith, Clifton, Rowe-Turner, J.Keane, C.Keane, Reid (Maguire 77), Byrne, Whitehouse, Morgan, Waite, Harewood.
Subs not used: Daniels, Duffy, McFarlane, De La Paz.