Bernard McNally’s first game in charge of Hednesford Town since his return to the club ended in a disappointing 4-0 defeat against last season’s relegated National League side Alfreton Town.
Hednesford were aiming to continue their fine performances from the previous two matches, looking for a third successive win which would propel them into the top half of the National League North.
The Pitmen’s attempts were quickly hampered as they made the worst possible start when in just the eighth minute the hosts took an early 1-0 lead through Jordan Robertson who made no mistake from the penalty spot following a clumsy challenge in the area by Kyle Perry.
This woke the away side up and they soon began to come into the game with Sean Williams firing into the wall from a free kick on the edge of the area, before arguably Hednesford’s best chance of the first half came when Ahmed Obeng nodded around Reds keeper Matt Duke, only to miss the target with an open goal at his mercy.
Although Hednesford saw plenty of the ball, Town failed to force Duke into any notable saves, influencing McNally’s decision to make a half-time substitution which saw Paul Ennis replace Kyle Perry.
However, it was Alfreton who once again came out of the blocks first after the interval, Ryan Wilson blazing over a volley from six yards following a dangerous free kick into the Hednesford box.
The home side soon doubled their advantage in the 62nd minute when another dangerous free kick into the box from Joe Leesley was flicked home by Reds’ substitute Jamie Jackson.
Hednesford should have pulled a goal back just five minutes later as good work down the left from Andy Todd set up Sean Williams, but the midfielder could only see his effort smack the inside of the woodwork and bounce away to safety.
The Pitmen continued their attempts to get back into the game, but it was to be Alfreton who found the back of the net once again, extending their lead through Sam Jones’ strike from the edge of the box into the bottom corner after 73 minutes.
The afternoon went from bad to worse for the visitors as Jones grabbed his second of the game with a perfectly placed header into the top corner of the net from a corner with eight minutes remaining.
The Pitmen suffered another blow soon afterwards as midfielder Tom Thorley was forced off with a nasty looking wrist injury, forcing the away side to end the game with ten men, having used all their substitutes.
It was certainly not the start McNally was hoping for, but his troops will look to erase all memories of the result as they return to action this coming Tuesday when Gloucester City visit Keys Park in the National League North, 7:45pm kick off.
Alfreton Town: Duke, Moyo, Galinski, Allan, Heaton (Paling 87), Wilson, Leesley, Jones, Berry, Johnston (Jackson 41), Robertson (Ironside 84)
Subs not used: Thanoj, Draper
Hednesford Town: Parton, Disney, Regan, Bailey, T Williams, Thorley, S Williams, Modest (McQuilkin 83), Perry (Ennis 45), Obeng (Todd 59), Digie
Subs not used: Robinson, Ransome
Star Man: Tom Thorley
Entertainment Rating: Three Stars