24 January 2017
Alfreton Town travelled to the North West on Tuesday night as clear underdogs for their Vanarama National League North clash with leaders AFC Fylde losing 0-2 the Reds put up an accomplished and encouraging display.
Up until Cecil Nyoni's unfortunate error that led to the hosts taking the lead with just 22 minutes remaining Alfreton had more than matched the Coasters, but a slick break proved lethal with Steve Williams setting up former Red's favourite Dan Bradley to fire a deflected shot beyond Fabian Spiess from the edge of the area.
To Bradley's credit the record signing for Fylde declined to celebrate his goal and endeared himself once again to the small band of travelling fans by making a point of shaking hands with every one of them monents after the final whistle.
Alfreton had ridden their luck a couple of times during a first half that they dominated, Brendon Daniels producing a downward header in the tenth minute that looked like finding the back of the net, but instead bounced over the bar then Spiess pulled off a brilliant save from Dan Bradley when a goal looked inevitable.
Tom Allen was playing a much more forward role than usual and created Alfreton's first real chance at the midpoint of the first half firing at goal with home keeper Rhys Taylor parrying under pressure, then Mark Shelton fired over from an Andy Monkhouse cross.
Maybe the best chance for the Reds came and went in the 34th minute, Adam Priestley steering wide when left with a clear sight of goal from Paul Clayton's deep cross.
Two minutes after the break a darting run by Clayton ended with a low drive that Taylor parried and Bond partially cleared but Allan could not turn the loose ball in.
In the minutes before Fylde finally edged ahead Allan saw his header held by the keeper from an inviting Wilson cross, then the league's top scorer Tommy Rowe slipped when preparing to give the home side the lead and Clayton played Shelton through with the only reward being a corner for the Reds.
Between the goals Allan dragged a half-chance wide from another neat piece of play from Clayton, and the lead up to Hughes' decisive strike had seen Spiess once again excel with a flying save from a Spiess free kick.
Terry Kennedy had been solid at the back in partnership with Brad McGowan, but picked up a nasty shoulder injury in added time, the centre back continuing bravely for the final few minutes with Alfreton having used all their substitutes.
Alfreton Town Team:
Spiess, Wilson, McGowan, Terry Kennedy, Heaton, Nyoni (Marshall 85), Monkhouse, Shelton, Allan (Westcarr 83), Priestley, Clayton (A. Smith 85)
Subs not used : Gascoigne, Jordan
AFC Fylde Team:
Taylor, Baker, Tom Kennedy, Williams, Collins, Bond, Hardy ( Dixon 74), C. Hughes, Rowe ( Blinkhorn 86), Bradley, Daniels (M. Hughes 66)
Subs not used : Thompson, Tasdemir
Referee: Darren Strain