21 March 2017
Alfreton Town ground out a slender 1-0 win over Boston United to record their third successive National League North win at the Impact Arena on Tuesday Night.
A touch of magic from Liam Hearn was enough to seperate the teams, but Boston will consider themselves unfortunate to leave empty handed after going close in the latter stages.
Injuries to Terry kennedy and Tom Allan allowed Todd Jordan to return to the heart of the defence, whilst Hearn partenered Sam Smith up front, but with Niall Heaton stranded on route to the game manager Russ O'Neil could only name four substitutes, including Academy players Morgan Brough and Ellis Evans.
Apart from a deflected free-kick, unleashed by Louis Briscoe from 30 yards in the 18th minute, that smashed against the foot of the post, it was resolute defending that maintained a clean sheet for the Reds.
The early exchanges favoured Alfreton, with Hearn firing over from Wed Atkinson's third minute lay-off, Mark Shelton then missing the target having been put through by Andy Monkhouse.
Smith headed over from Craig Westcarr's 28th minute corner, then a swift break by Jay Rollins ended with a wayward shot before Hearn struck four minutes before the break, heading home at the near post from a superb Jordan Richard's cross.
Another Richards delivery two minutes into the second half saw Westcarr drill wide from the edge of the area, then Fabian Spiess had to save from Nat Brown as Boston upped the ante.
Alex Simmons was next to be thwarted by the Red's keeper before Spiess saved brilliantly when Josh Robinson looked likely to level matters in the 75th minute.
Seven minutes from the end Alfreton's rearguard survived intense pressure as Monkhouse blocked from Rollins on the line before heading behind the follow up from Robinson, then from the ensuing corner Richards somehow managed to scoop Tom Batchelor's towering header off the line.
Russ O'Neil has certainly succeeded in tightening up Alfreton's defensive frailties, after being overwhelmed at Curzon Ashton and Kidderminster Harriers and disappointed at Chorley when conceeding a lead late in the game, and as a result the Reds are able to focus more on protecting their advantage and have now pulled ten points clear of the relegation zone.
Alfreton Town Team:
Speiss, Richards, McGowan, Jordan, Wilson, Atkinson, Shelton, Monkhouse,Westcarr (McFadzean 73), Hearn, S. Smith
Subs not used : Marshall, Brough, Evans
Boston United Team:
Durrant, Robinson, Yeomans, Vince, Batchelor, Brown, Chapman, Briscoe ( Simmons 60), Rollins, Bishop, Hilliard ( Dieseruvwe 53)
Subs not used : Clarke, Thomas, Gatter
Referee: Paul Graham