18 March 2017
Alfreton Town remain unbeaten at the Impact Arena in 2017 after beating FC United of Manchester in Saturday's Vanarama National League North encounter at the Impact Arena, pulling seven points clear of the drop zone in the process.
Sam Smith boosted the Reds with a sixth minute opener, and after the visitors had levelled through George Thomson four minutes into the second half Wes Atkinson popped up with the winner with 13 minutes remaining.
Manager Russ O'Neill had made one change from the side beaten at Kidderminster Harriers seven days earlier. Tom Allan back after injury at the expence of Adam Smith.
The Reds took the lead when Craig Westcarr's pass allowed Smith to unleash an angled drive that was blocked, but that did not deter the striker who repeated the shot, this time squeezing the ball into the far corner of the net despite desperate attempts by defenders to prevent the ball from crossing the line.
A Lively exchange saw Red's keeper Fabian Speiss make a diving save to keep out Thomson's free-kick, then Andy Monkhouse headed clear as Scott advanced and fired at goal.
United keeper Dave Carnell held Atkinson's low drive after being put through by Westcarr, then on 35 minutes Spiess held Thomson's powerful shot at the second attempt, then almost immediately spectacularly parried another lethal free-kick from Thomson.
Thomson was featuring in every FC move. so it was perhaps inevitable that he was on hand to hook in Matthew Wolfenden's 49th minute cross from close range to make the score 1-1, but just two minutes later Allan headed firmly against the United crossbar from a Westcarr corner.
Galvanised, rather than stunned, Alfreton surged forward with Westcarr forcing a fingertip save from Carnell, who then saved from Jordan Richards, but Spiess was once again called into action in the 69th minute, tipping over Jake Williams driven cross.
Brad McGowan halted Jerome Wright's progress with a precision tackle in the 75th minute, a swift break seeing Allan's header held from a Richard's cross.
It was Westcarr who provided the delivery for Atkinson to stroke the ball past Carnell from just inside the area on 77 minutes. Alfreton almost extending their advantage in added time as Atkinson went close following a neat pull-back by Liam Hearn.
Another awkward cross by Williams even later produced yet another defiant save from Spiess, allowing the Reds to see out a vital and much deserved victory.
Alfreton Town Team:
Spiess, Richards, McGowan, Kennedy, Wilson, Atkinson, Monkhouse, Shelton, Allan ( Heaton 77), Westcarr ( Hearn 88), S.Smith
Subs not used : Marshall, Jordan, Brough
FC United of Manchester Team:
Carnell, Williams, Sheridan ( Gilchrist 77), Kay, Corbett, Ashworth, Wolfenden ( Chantler 84), Lowe, Arnison ( Greaves 77), Wright, Thomson
Subs not used : Brown, Wilkinson
Referee: Garreth Rhodes