Vanarama National League North: Bradford Park Avenue 3 Alfreton Town 3

BRADFORD Park had to battle for a point from a game that they dominated which left manager Mark Bower declaring: "It would have been a travesty if we hadn’t got anything from that."

The home side broke the deadlock in the Vanarama National North clash, but after that the Alfreton goal led a charmed life and the visitors were ahead at the break after former Avenue striker Chris Sharp netted the Reds’ second superb goal.

It was an all-action encounter but Avenue looked to be heading for a comfortable win after the opening half-hour.

Matt Hill had given the home side a 15th-minute lead, with the former Wolves defender rifling in a shot from a tight angle after good build-up play.

The hosts continued to create openings, and a long throw-in from Nicky Clee was helped into the box but Adam Boyes hooked his shot wide.

A double chance followed soon after as a Danny Boshell shot was blocked but he was able to steer the rebound back to Boyes, only for his effort to be cleared off the line by Sharp.

Minutes later, a great shot from 20-plus yards by Alfreton midfielder Tom Platt gave keeper Ed Hall no chance as it nestled in the bottom corner.

Then came a second double chance for Avenue as Oli Johnson hit a post when one on one with Reds keeper Tobias Johannson, and when the rebound wasn’t cleared Nicky Wroe followed up only to see his shot blocked on the line by a defender.

With a little over six minutes until half-time, Alfreton doubled their lead when Sharp lashed a shot from distance into the top corner.

The second half was not as open as the first, with the visitors being content to slow the game down.

Avenue continued to press and, as a 61st-minute corner was only half-cleared, Avenue winger Javan Vidal hit a dipping shot from just outside the area that came back off the crossbar.

Two minutes later, Johnson netted a header off the inside of a post after a superb cross from Mark Ross.

The visitors then snatched the lead yet again in dramatic circumstances as Brendan Daniels was introduced from the bench as play was held up after a foul by an Avenue man.

Daniels’ first touch was the free-kick which took a deflection off the wall, dropping in behind Hall.

Bower made changes as Avenue continued to be on the front foot, and their positivity was rewarded with an 88th-minute leveller as Boshell netted from point-blank range after Clee and Johnson had combined on the left flank before the latter delivered a low centre.

A sign of Avenue’s desire was that both halves ended with the home side forcing stoppage-time corners, only to hear the referee’s whistle before they could take them.

Bower said: “I couldn’t ask for any more from the players. We have dominated the game, hit the post and the bar and had at least two shots cleared off the line, so I’m really very pleased with the attitude and effort shown.

“They (Alfreton) have scored three worldies, and I think that was down to us defending well and restricting them to long-range efforts.

"The first one – I just think that the lad’s shot out of frustration, then the second one Sharpy is slipping on the wet turf but still finds the top corner.

“The free-kick, which was their substitute’s first touch, has hit the defender, looped up and dropped in the only spot it could to beat our keeper.

"Ed (Hall) had a great game but has been beaten three times, so he’s very unfortunate and we’ve been unlucky not to win.

“It would have been a travesty if we hadn’t got anything from that.”

Promotion-chasing Avenue and mid-table Alfreton both climbed one place after banking a point on a rain-affected Saturday.

Avenue are up to eighth, so are immediately outside the play-off places, just three points behind Spennymoor Town, who should have been at AFC Telford United, but that game was postponed.