Paul Blackett scored twice but Moors were beaten 3-2 by Alfreton Town on Tuesday night as Jason Ainsley’s side finished the game with nine men at The Impact Arena.
Moors were a goal down inside 75 seconds and conceded a second with only 13 minutes on the clock which set the tone for a tricky night which saw Reece Kendall and Joe Tait both sent-off in the second half.
Ainsley handed Jake Day his first Moors start and also restored Paul Blackett to the attack, while Glen Taylor was back on the bench after recovering from an ankle injury.
However, Moors were on the back foot little over a minute into the contest when Adam Lund’s enormous throw slipped from Harry Flatters’ grasp and Dwayne Wiley forced home the loose ball.
At the other end, Day got in behind on to Kendall’s ball and appeared to be taken out by home keeper George Willis but referee Gareth Thomas was well placed and waved away the appeals.
On 13 minutes it was 2-0. A ball in from the left caused panic in the Moors’ defence and they couldn’t fully clear it away, allowing Matt Rhead to ram home a finish from 14 yards.
Flatters made a smart save when another Lund throw had caused issues, before George Cantrill got free at the back post from Yusifu Ceesay’s cross but wastefully fired over.
Day was holding the ball up well when given the opportunity and fed John Lufudu in down the right but his low drive was turned round the near post by Willis.
Moors did have one back on 23 minutes when Blackett found space on the right of the area and his low shot picked up a deflection on its way into the net.
Lufudu then burst to the byline and put the ball across the area where AJ Greaves tried to chop back into space and shoot but went down under a challenge – but again the referee waved away the penalty protests.
Alfreton restored their two-goal lead just before the half hour. A ball in from the right dropped loose six yards from goal and was swept in by defender Dom Smith.
Flatter then had to make an instinctive save to prevent Rhead from adding a fourth goal for the home side just before the break.
The job became harder on 54 minutes when Kendall lunged into a challenge on Josh Clackstone which resulted in the Alfreton defender leaving on a stretcher the Moors defender being red-carded.
However, Moors rallied again and on 69 minutes it was 3-2. Blackett attempted to play the ball in behind for Rob Ramshaw only for a defender to intercept but the loose ball fell back to the front man and he swept home a wonderful first-time finish from 40 yards to catch Willis off his line.
There was more work for Flatters as he turned away a Rhead header before Moors were reduced to nine men on 79 minutes following some dissent from Joe Tait.
Blackett had the ball in the net again moments later when he was sent in behind the Alfreton defence but the offside flag denied him a hat-trick.
Flatters made a wonderful save to turn away a deflected free-kick before Moors were camped in the Alfreton half in the closing stages looking for a leveller that just wouldn’t come.
Full Time: Alfreton Town 3 Moors 2
Alfreton Town: Willis, Clackstone (Dearle 58), Wiley, Smith, Teale, Salam (Southwell 82), Cantrill, Lund (Branson 90), Hobson, Ceesay, Rhead.
Subs not used: Thewlis, Denton.
Moors: Flatters, Lufudu, Tait, Curtis, Mbeka, Kendall, Ross (Anderson 84), Greaves (Angell 56), Ramshaw, Day (Taylor 73), Blackett.
Subs not used: McKeown, Shanks.
Sent-off: Kendall (54), Tait (79).
Referee: Gareth Thomas