Goals, Goals, Goals!
Alfreton Town welcomed Derby County Academy to the Impact Arena for a quarter-final showdown in the Cawarden Derbyshire Senior Challenge Cup. The Reds started strong and carved out some dangerous chances in the opening 15 minutes, but it was Derby who took the lead after 21 minutes through Arsenal loanee Kido Taylor-Hart. Just five minutes later, The Young Rams doubled their lead, this time Sonny Blu Lo-Everton making the most of Alfreton’s defensive frailties.
Alfreton fought back and halved the deficit after 32 minutes; Debutant Peter Dearle bundling the ball over the line to make it 1-2. At half-time, the Rams lead by a singular goal.
The hosts started on the front foot again, chasing the equaliser. After 52 minutes, dangerous target-man Tom Denton found space and slotted it home, levelling the score 2-2. On the hour mark, referee James Oldham awarded Alfreton a penalty, and the chance to turn this tie on its head; Ahmed Salam stepped up and calmly found the back of the net, giving Alfreton a 3-2 lead!
The Rams struggled to cope with Alfreton’s attack and conceded another after 63 minutes, a Denton header making it 4-2. The Reds continued their onslaught, and Baily Hobson scored Alfreton’s fifth goal of this already extraordinary tie, after 74 minutes.
In the 88th minute, with the clock ticking and Derby struggling to find a way through, skilful Rams attacker Taylor-Hart took a chance and struck the ball from way out, unbelievably scoring! Still, the Rams are behind 5-3.
That is until a minute later, when Taylor-Hart repeated himself and scored another solo screamer to complete his hat trick! 5-4…
The fourth official signalled four minutes of added time to come, as Alfreton desperately looked to hold onto their now slender lead. 94 minutes in, a Derby player was brought down, and a foul given; One final chance for the Rams to complete an astonishing late comeback. The freekick was floated in and Darren Robinson nods it onto the inside of the post and in! 5-5!
The full-time whistle blew, and it was down to penalties to decide the winner of this remarkable tie.
Alfreton missed their first penalty, and Derby scored theirs. Both teams scored their 2nd, 3rd and 4th spot kicks, meaning Derby just needed to score to win. Dajaune Brown stepped up for Derby and smashed it home comfortably, sending the Young Rams into the semi-finals of the Derbyshire Senior Challenge Cup!
They now face a trip to Belper Town on the 14 March, with the winners facing either Buxton or Belper United in the final, which will be held at Pride Park Stadium on Wednesday 19 April.