Celtic had the better of the opening period, with Craig Hobson find space for a shot that was reasonably comfortable for Ross Turner to catch, before he was tested more by Phil Marsh moments later. Rhys Meynell went very close from a corner, heading just over the bar, before new loan signing Stephen Brogan spread the ball out to Callum Warburton, who brought the ball down on his chest and curled a twenty-five yard super strike into the top corner beyond Turner's reach.
Moments later and Alfreton were on level terms again as Jordan Hall found Paul Clayton with an inch perfect cross for him to stoop in and head past stand in keeper Ashley Woodhouse. The home side went on something of a rampage after this, putting Celtic under increasing pressure, with Liam Hearned denied by a fine save from Woodhouse, before Anthony Howell again tested Woodhouse and found him up to the task. With Alfreton pressure increasing, Celtic broke with Brogan sent on his way against Aden Flint whom he dodged round and went one-on-one with Turner and coolly slotted the ball past him to restore Celtic's lead.
Alfreton restored parity at 2-2 immediately with Liam Hearn having enough space to squeeze the ball past Woodhouse. Alfreton carried on attacking the Celtic goal, thus it was no surprise when fullback Connor Franklin was found in acres of space by Hearn to rifle Alfreton's third home.
The second half couldn't possibly have been played at the same pace as the first, and when Anthony Howell was left completely unmarked from an Alfreton corner at the start of the half, he headed past Woodhouse, although the Celtic keeper perhaps could have claimed the cross.
Celtic got back into the game, and Hobson fired in a great low drive that Turner did well to reach, but Celtic's momentum was interrupted with a serious looking injury to Greg Wilkinson, who landed awkwardly after colliding with Howell, before Howell fell on the Celtic midfielder, forcing the use of a stretcher and a leg brace. Jack Rea was his replacement, and he worked hard to help get Celtic back into the game.
Hobson had two glorious chances in as many minutes firing to the near post to have Turner scrambling across, and then beating Turner with a curling effort, only for Flint to head clear inches from the line. Connor Jennings was put through superbly by Brogan but as he was about to pull the trigger, Flint came sliding in dispossessing Jennings at the edge of the box. It looked to be only a matter of time before Celtic pulled one back to halve the deficit and when Brogan put in a peach of a cross that had the home defence at sixes and sevens, Craig Davies popped up and smashed the ball into the roof of the net with five minutes remaining.
Only a goal behind, Celtic went looking for the equaliser, and Jennings thought he had it but for a smart stop from Turner, before Nathan Arnold made sure when he sneaked in to collect a poor back pass to go one-on-one with Woodhouse and restore Alfreton's two goal cushion with no time left for Celtic to do anything about it.
A great game for the neutral with good football on show from both sides, but ultimately it's a third consecutive defeat for Celtic and enough to put Alfreton back on top of the Conference North.
|9||Clayton, Paul||> 85|
|10||Hearn, Liam||> 45|
|15||Dillon, Daniel||< 85|
|17||Arnold, Nathan||< 45|