Darlington FC 0-1 Alfreton Town

FT: Darlington FC 0    1 Alfreton Town

01 September 2018

Bobby Johnson struck after just 70 seconds of Alfreton Town's National League North encounter at Darlington on Saturday, and that was enough to push the Reds temporarily into third spot with a fourth straight win for the first time since 2015.

The hosts though made life difficult for Billy Heath's men, particularly in the latter stages as they threw everything at Alfreton, but the well-organised defence held firm, despite skipper Luke Shiels being sent off for a second caution ten minutes from time.

Ironically last season Chris Sharp had opened the scoring for the Reds inside 33 seconds, but the difference then was a total capitulation by the Reds to lose 1-4 - this time around there was no such problem once Johnson had steered home Tom Denton's flick-on from a long James Clifton throw that clearly caught Darlington napping.

Callum Chettle saw a shot saved by keeper Jonathan Maddison from Johnson's 28th minute cross and Richard Peniket's goalbound shot was blocked by Jonathan Burn in a first half during which the hosts hardly figured.

HT: Darlington FC 0    1 Alfreton Town

After the break two saves were necessary from David Syers before a glaring miss by Jordan Nicholson from a Stephen Thompson cross as Darlington tried to muster a response, but Denton also had an opportunity at the other end when trying to control a bouncing ball in front of goal, only to scoop it wide.

Some resolute defending during the second half, a handful of good saves by Sam Ramsbottom and a slice of luck when the keeper fumbled a shot that fortunately looped up over the crossbar and Alfreton were home and dry.

Shiels' dismissal also allowed highly rated central defender Martin Riley to make his debut, having been out with an injury sustained in pre-season, and he responded positively to the challenge.

Alfreton Town Team:

Ramsbottom; Clifton, Shiels, Gowling, Wilde, Platt [Middleton 72] [Riley 82], Johnson, Chettle [Clackstone 68], Hotte, Peniket, Denton.

Other subs: Bacon, T.Nicholson.

Darlington FC Team:

Maddison; Trotman, Elliott, Hughes, Burn, Ainge, J.Nicholson, Syers, Styche, Saunders, Thompson.

Subs [non used]: Glover, Bancroft, Banks, Kaba, Morrison.

Attendance: 1269

Man of the Match: Bobby Johnson

Referee: Adam Heczeg Match Reports

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