Alfreton Town 2-3 Salford City

FT: Alfreton Town 2    3 Salford City

17 February 2018

A workmanlike performance by Alfreton Town could not prevent big spending Salford City from strengthening their position as National League North leaders when the two teams met at the lmpact Arena on Saturday. 

The visitors came out of the blocks running, forcing five corners in the opening six minutes, during which Reds' keeper Chris Elliott made saves from Jack Redshaw and former Alfreton favourite Nathan Arnold.

The last of the quintet of flag-kicks produced the opening goal under suspicious circumstances, Elliott emerging from the goalmouth ruck with a head injury that necessitated lengthy treatment after Daniel Livesey had headed home from Arnold' delivery.

Lee Beevers needed to make a superb tackle as Michael Phenix raced clear in the 13th minute, but Alfreton responded with an outstanding header by Luke Shiels from Brendon Daniels' accurate free-kick to level the scores eight minutes later.

Salford though restored their lead on 25 minutes when Redshaw converted Thomas Walker's left flank cross, the goal again shrouded in controversy with more than a suspicion of off-side.

In reply Craig Westcarr fired just wide from 16 yards from a Cieron Keane cross and Tom Platt's by-line cross won the Reds their first corner of the game after being put through by Tom Allan.

A dangerous, scything tackle by Scott Burton on Allan as the first half drew to a close received only a yellow card when a different colour looked to be more appropriate, then to add insult to injury Salford went into the interval with a 3-1 lead after Gus Mafuta had guided home a Michael Phenix cross in the second minute of stoppage time.

HT: Alfreton Town 1    3 Salford City

An early chance in the second half saw Ryan Jennings stretch in vain to reach a driven Keane cross under pressure, then on 48 minutes Arnold's corner at the other end landed on top of the crossbar.

Both Mafuta and Redshaw missed reasonable chances as the visitors pressed deeper, but Alfreton saw a glimmer of hope through a weak back-pass by Michael Nottingham that momentarily left sub Chris Sharp free before keeper Max Crocombe was able to block.

lt was scant consolation for Alfreton that they won the second half, Marcus Marshall stabbing home a Cieron Keane cross with virtually the last kick of the game and far too late to set up a grandstand finale.

Alfreton Town Team:

Elliott; Wood, Shiels, Beevers, Allan, Keane, Disley [Everington 59], Jennings [Marshall 68], Platt, Daniels [Sharp 68], Westcarr.

Other subs: Topliss, Baxendale.

Salford City Team:

Crocombe; Nottingham, Touray, Burton [Allen 76], Livesey, Maynard, Arnold, Mafuta, Phenix, Redshaw [Dudley 76], Walker [Houghton 79].

Other subs: Askew, Dieseruvwe.

Attendance: 984

Man of the Match: Luke Shiels

Referee: Aaron Jackson Match Reports

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