Hard-working Alfreton push leaders close but still leave empty-handed
ALFRETON Town put in a hard-working performance away to Blue Square Bet Premier leaders Grimsby Town but could not avoid conceding their first double of the season.
Chesterfield striker Scott Boden was given the first start of his loan spell, which meant Ashley Worsfold reverted to the bench after scoring a hat-trick in midweek against Buxton in the Derbyshire Senior Cup.
Reds keeper Phil Barnes was called into action in the 18th minute with a spectacular leap to tip over Sam Hatton's dipping free-kick but, seconds later, he inadvertently set up the hosts with a clear-cut opportunity.
Having comfortably held a weak Richard Brodie shot from a Jamie Devitt corner, his clearing throw struck team-mate Dan Bradley on the back and fell for Devitt to feed Andy Cook but he fluffed his chance from a good position at the back post.
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But Alfreton battled well for the first 40 minutes and took a deserved 27th-minute lead through a Bradley penalty after Boden was brought down by Brodie.
The Grimsby striker made amends after 41 minutes by winning a spot kick for his side, Ross Killock impeding him before Devitt stroked the penalty past Barnes.
After all their good work, Alfreton went into the break trailing when, in first-half added time, a defensive lapse allowed Brodie to turn and slot home a deep Devitt free kick from close range.
The Mariners were 3-1 ahead in the 58th minute when Cook back-heeled a Brodie cross at the near post after a swift break down the left initiated by Andi Thanoj.
Alfreton kept plugging away and Darran Kempson, who lives only three miles from Blundell Park, saw his 63rd-minute header from a Josh Law corner hacked off the line by Aswad Thomas.
But only three minutes after coming on as a substitute, top scorer Paul Clayton shot in from 12 yards in the 71st minute after his initial shot was blocked and Alfreton halved the deficit.
The Reds' hopes of snatching a point disappeared nine minutes from time when Craig Disley got Grimsby's fourth goal from close range after Barnes pulled off a save from a Lenell John-Lewis scorcher.