Notts County were unlucky today at Alfreton Town as they drew 0-0 in a game in which they dominated possession and had chances to win it in a match played in intense temperatures.
The Magpies also missed a penalty with their dominance and chances going unrewarded, although Alfreton did hit the Notts crossbar late in the game.
On 4 minutes, a good searching ball over the top was looking for Jon Stead, but Fabian Spiess rushed off his line and beat the Notts man in the footrace.
Forte was presented with a gilt-edged chance on 14 minutes. A stunning cross-field ball by Aborah found Hewitt. He was brave in the challenge, winning the battle, and the ball broke to Forte who could only blaze his effort wide from 12 yards.
Forte was again involved on 16 minutes as he worked hard to get onto the end of a poor back pass but the defender does well to get across to make the challenge. 0-0
Alfreton had their first real attack on 22 minutes and it was on the counter. Arnold received the ball from Jordan and opted to strike from distance but it lacked the power to test Collin.
More great work from Aborah followed. He received the ball in the centre, and evaded two challenges before Jordan made a last ditch tackle as the Notts man was about to pull the trigger.
On 25 minutes, the players stopped for a pre-arranged drinks break. The temperature even at this stage of the evening was still approaching 30oC, with the game being played at an intense pace by both sides.
When play resumed, it was the Magpies threatening again as Elliott Hewitt fancied his chances from a full 30 yards. His right footed effort was just inches over former Notts man Fabian Spiess’ crossbar.
Alfreton were rarely threatening the visitors, with Notts dominating possession. The Conference North side were limited to long-range efforts, with Bradley striking one from 35 yards which was wild, clearing the bar and the stand behind the goal.
Notts best chance of the half fell again to Jonathan Forte on 40 minutes. Aborah whipped in a free kick after a foul by Allan, and there were appeals for hand ball in the melee that followed. Somehow, the ball fell to Forte just yards from goal, but his effort was saved at point-blank range by Spiess, who was having a good game in the Alfreton goal.
A poor challenge by Andy Monkhouse on 44 minutes left Stanley Aborah limping, with words exchanged between the two.
This was the last action of a half dominated by Notts, who went in at the break unfortunate to not have the goal their performance merited.
The second half started slowly, with the battles mainly taking place in midfield.
However, on 50 minutes, Graham Burke’s fantastic threaded through ball fed Izale McLeod. His first touch was good and with his second, he dinked it over the advancing keeper. It looked to have the power to cross the line but Todd Jordan somehow managed to get back to clear.
A let off for Notts on 56 minutes as the Notts defence made a rare mistake. Duffy’s back pass was slightly short and Clayton was lurking, but Collin rushed out and managed to clear the danger with the Alfreton front-man not far from stealing it.
The fans had to wait until 70 minutes for any more action of significant note. The Magpies won a free kick 30 yards from goal. Both Smith and Burke were standing over it, but it was the latter that eventually hit it, his on-target effort unfortunate to clip the wall and go out for a corner kick.
Fantastic interplay followed between as Burke and McLeod one-two their way into the box but Burke ran into traffic and the danger was thwarted.
On 80 minutes, McLeod turned well on the corner of the 18-yard box, he fired in a left foot effort but it was too close to Spiess.
More good work followed from Mcleod, who was looking very sharp. His burst into the box and roll back to Burke gave him a yard of space, but he sent his effort straight into Spiess' arms.
Notts won a penalty on 89 minutes and a chance to win the game. It was great work by Snijders to win the spot kick, knocking it past Spiess after breaking clear, the keeper forced to bring him down.
McLeod stepped up to take it. He smashed it down the middle but the ball ricocheted back off the underside of the crossbar, and the Alfreton defence cleared. It was so unlucky for McLeod, an inch lower and it would have been a fantastic penalty.
That proved to be the last action of the match, as the referee blew for full time leaving Notts to rue their missed chances in the heat of the Impact Arena.
Full Time: Alfreton Town 0-0 Notts County