Matt Rhead nets for both sides as Alfreton Town and Boston United play out stalemate

Matt Rhead netted for both sides. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)Matt Rhead netted for both sides. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
Matt Rhead netted for both sides. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
Alfreton Town 1 Boston United 1

Matt Rhead was on target for both sides as Alfreton Town and Boston United played out a 1-1 draw at the Impact Arena.

The striker got on the scoresheet either side of half time, handing the Pilgrims the lead before pulling his side level.

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A draw was probably the fair result in an evenly-balanced battle, which saw United defender Jake Wright snr dismissed late on.

The long ball tag may have followed the careers of Billy Heath and Paul Cox, but the first 45 minutes was a high-tempo back and forth with quick, slick passing from both sides.

Danny Elliott's tight-angled drive forced a firm save from ex-Pilgrims stopper George Willis, before the United man shot well over with his weaker right foot from the edge of the box.

At the other end Dwayne Wiley couldn't divert Dayle Southwell's corner on target and Boston skipper Luke Shiels got away with one when Danny Preston struck the ball at the defender's arm from close range.

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It was Shiels who was reeling away in celebration in the 45th minute after the ball found the Reds' net, but on closer inspection it was Town attacker Rhead - who had scored plenty for Cox in his Mansfied Town days - who diverted the cross goalwards.

In the build-up to the goal Willis had pulled off a good parry from Tom Platt's volley but had little time to bask in any glory.

Seven minutes after the re-start Rhead made amends, nodding home Dayle Southwell's cross to level the scores, unmarked at the back post.

And the big man almost put his side in front seconds later, this time Marcus Dewhurst getting behind the ball.

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The hosts were comfortably on top after pulling level and some desperate defending kept Wiley's header out before Joe Leesley lashed a hopeful effort over in response.

Willis had to get his bearings right when he collected Matt Tootle's goalbound cross, falling into the goal but keeping the ball in play.

Boston were down to 10 for the final 12 minutes when Wright saw red for a robust challenge on Preston.

The veteran defender protested his innocence but referee Kristian Silcock didn't hesitate in reaching for his back pocket.

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Brad Nicholson's free kick forced a comfortable save from Willis and later had the Town keeper at full stretch in the five minutes of time added on.

But Willis held on, as did Alfreton as Town and United played out their third consecutive 1-1 draw in Derbyshire.

In the final seconds of the game Shane Byrne took a boot in the face in the box but appeals were waived away by the referee, who found himself in the odd position of being surrounded by both sides at the final whistle after an erratic performance in the middle.

ALFRETON: Willis, Clackstone, Sutton, Branson, Smith, Wiley, Preston (Ceesay 79), Lund, Rhead, Southwell, Hobson; Subs (not used): Askew, Smith-Eccles, Butterfield, Johnson.

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UNITED: Dewhurst, Tootle, Platt, Shiels, Elliott, Wright snr, Leesley, Byrne, Pollock (Abbott 90), Massanka (Hanson 41 (Duxbury 90)), Nicholson; Subs (not used): Thanoj, Preston.

REF: Kristian Silcock.

ATT: 467.