Alfreton Town came from behind to earn a replay with League 2 side Newport County in the FA Cup 1st Round.
The non-league club, appearing in the first round proper for only the eighth time in their history, had the better of the first period but fell behind to a 65th-minute Josh Sheehan strike.
However, the Reds levelled nine minutes later courtesy of Terry Kennedy’s first goal for the club, which ultimately proved enough to deservedly force a replay.
The second part of our FA Cup double-header weekend took us to Derbsyhire to watch National League North side Alfreton Town, who had already caused an upset in the previous round by defeating Gateshead of the division above, host the football league’s bottom-placed club Newport County.
Similarly to the previous day’s contest between Cambridge United and Dover Athletic, there was again clear potential for an upset on a chilly afternoon at the Impact Arena – the 3,600 capacity ground which the Reds have called home since their formation in 1959.
Unbeaten in almost a month, the Derbyshire club will have fancied their chances against the Welsh club, who sat four points adrift at the foot of the League 2 table with only two league victories from their fourteen outings this campaign.
And in front of a bumper crowd of more than 1,000, it was the hosts who had the better of an entertaining and hard-fought first period that offered few clear-cut chances – Gibraltar international Adam Priestley coming closest with a miscued effort after getting into a dangerous position in the area.
However, twenty minutes into the second period the football league club went ahead. A mazy run from Sean Rigg took him past multiple defenders before cutting the ball back to Sheehan, who slotted a strike into the bottom to finally open the scoring.
But while many may have expected the higher division outfit to show their class form here, this was not the case and Alfreton were level less than ten minutes later when a deflected Peistley cross was flicked home by former Sheffield United man Kennedy, to the delight of the majority of the noisy supporters inside the ground.
Neither side looked like they particularly fancied a replay with both pushing desperately for a late winner in this exciting cup tie, but ultimately the contest ended level – an outcome that will have pleased Alfreton boss Nicky Law far more than his Newport counterpart Graham Westley.
The two teams must now meet again at Rodney Parade to decide who will book their place in the second round, which would leave then just one win away from a potential meeting with the biggest names in English football.
Alfreton Town 1–1 Newport County
Josh Sheehan ’65, Terry Kennedy ’74