• Amar Sharma

Alfreton are denied by last-gasp Southport strike

Jordan Archer's 94th minute finish inside the box saw the points shared at the Pure Stadium as Alfreton ended their losing run in the National League North, but came within seconds of leaving with all three points.

Bobby Johnson had given the Reds the lead on the half hour mark with a beauty of a strike into the bottom corner which left keeper Dan Hanford rooted.

However, the Reds, despite defending well and soaking up pressure, were denied the points with the last kick of the game as Archer squeezed his shot into the bottom corner.

The game lacked quality throughout with the Reds having the better of the first half, Southport the better of the second.

Alfreton had their first big chance after 11 minutes when Nicky Walker was played through and with just Hanford to beat, his shot was saved to his right by the Port goalkeeper.

George Newell's shot was blocked at the other end inside the box before Toby Lees nodded a free kick onto Danny Clarke, who took the ball past Hanford but his pass back to Dan Bradley for a shooting chance was mis-placed.

Johnson couldn't connect cleanly on a shot which trickled to Hanford after Port failed to clear a deflected cross into the box. Then with 31 gone, Johnson found some quality with a wonderful strike from outside the box which went into the bottom corner leaving Hanford rooted still after Port had cleared a long throw.

Alfreton (in blue and red) in action at Southport on Saturday. Photo: Alfreton Town FC.

The hosts had their best chance just before half time as Woods found David Morgan inside the box but his dink over George Willis flashed past the far post.

The second half was again even in it's early stages, Adam Lund produced a cracking ball in but Clarke couldn't connect at the far post. Bradley then curled an effort just over the bar following a corner which was cleared back to him.

Willis intercepted Connor Woods' low cross on the right after a dangerous run, before Woods had a neat one-two on the edge of the box but his shot went wide of the post. Then Matty Challoner blazed over the bar after Morgan set him up with an inside ball in the box.

The introduction of Elliott Reeves gave Alfreton some pace up front and he soon won the ball back inside the Southport half which saw Johnson play Bradley through on the right side of the box but the shot went wide of the far post.

Southport's Jack Doyle then couldn't connect with a cross at the far post on 67, while Woods saw his shot go way over the bar as the hosts' frustrations grew along with the crowd at the resolute defence from Alfreton.

Connor Branson fired a shot over the bar before Reeves curled an effort over from a tight angle with 87 on the clock.

As the game entered stoppage time, Port had a big chance as Willis produced a point blank save to deny Archer in the box after the ball ping ponged around and fell to the forward.

But with 94 gone, just when the Reds had thought they had done enough and soaked up all the pressure from the hosts, Archer squeezed a finish into the bottom corner following a cross into the box.

It was a disappointing moment for the Reds who had looked solid, defended well and didn't look in too much danger in the game despite the Southport pressure throughout. However, the hosts took that opening and on the basis of the second half, a draw was the fair result in the end.

Alfreton will now look to build on the point gained away from home which ended the losing run in the league, as they welcome Chorley to the Impact Arena next Saturday. Kick off is 3pm and will be live on ATFCTV.

Alfreton: Willis, Clackstone, Atkinson, Branson, Lees, Lund, Smith, Bradley (c), Clarke (Reeves 57), Johnson, Walker (Fox 80).

Subs Not Used: Unwin-Marris, Tuton, Williams.