Alfreton Town stuck doggedly to their task to record only their third home win in the Blue Square Bet Premier this season, when they came from behind twice on Saturday to prevent Dartford from inflicting a double upon them.
Several changes were made from the New Year’s Day defeat at home to Mansfield Town, but Nicky Law’s side battled against adversity and recalled Daniel Meadows netted twice with quality finishes.
The game was held up after just 15 seconds had elapsed, with Dartford keeper Marcus Bettinelli needing treatment after colliding with Ben Tomlinson, and although the opening goal was timed at three minutes less than two had actually been played when Ryan Hayes curled a scorcher past Phil Barnes from the edge of the area.
Anton Brown headed over from a long Leigh Franks throw, then at the other end Harry Crawford - scorer of a hat-trick when the teams met in Kent on 1st September - was only just off target with a low drive.
Bettinelli held Tomlinson’s shot in the 12th minute, then a Crawford chip from a Hayes cross was easily dealt with by Barnes.
Franks’ header from a Josh Law corner needed clearing off the line by Tom Champion as Alfreton came close to a 20th minute leveller, then two minutes later Champion had to intervene again virtually on the goal-line as Brown headed Tomlinson’s cross firmly at goal.
A glaring miss by Crawford on the half hour saved Alfreton going further behind, Dartford’s top scorer somehow heading against the inside of the post from close range after Jon Wallis had played Hayes down the right.
Two minutes later another Hayes cross was stabbed over the line by Nathan Collier, but an off-side decision saved the day for the Reds, then in response Dan Bradley fired well wide after Ross Killock had sent Nathan Arnold through.
Bettinelli parried from Meadows five minutes before the break following a Law cross, then Killock had to clear off the line from a casual James Rogers flick that almost deceived the Reds’ rearguard.
An eventful first half concluded with the equaliser in the second minute of added time, when Meadows sprang to powerfully head home Matty Harriott’s deep cross from beyond the back post.
Arnold fired wide of the near post from Law’s 53rd minute cross, then Collier fired over for Dartford after cutting in from the left.
The visitors regained their lead on 59 minutes when Collier’s diving back post header beat Barnes from another Hayes cross, then for the Reds Brown glanced a header wide from Bradley’s pass and Law directed a free-kick just over the bar from a prime position.
Ashley Worsfold tried to engineer space for himself in the 72nd minute, but his shot deflected off a defender before nestling in Bettinelli’s arms, then three minutes later Alfreton were back on level terms when Brown slotted Arnold’s pass through the keeper’s legs from close range.
Brown almost succeeded from 25 yards, whilst Barnes saved from Wallis and Hayes, but with barely two minutes left on the clock the Impact Arena erupted as Meadows smashed another Arnold cross high into the net from 16 yards.
ALFRETON: Barnes; Law, Franks, Killock, Franklin (Harriott 34), Streete, Brown, Bradley (Worsfold 65), Arnold, Tomlinson (Clayton 53), Meadows.
Other subs: Quinn, Russell.