08 February 2014
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Alfreton Town's long trek to play Salisbury City on Saturday earned them a vital point from a goalless draw against a side that had won eleven of its home games to date.
Only four Skrill Premier games survived the weather, and with nearest challengers Grimsby Town failing to capitalise with a similar result against lowly Southport the Reds were able to consolidate third spot.
It was the first 0-0 draw for Alfreton in 57 League and Cup games since a freezing cold January afternoon last season at AFC Telford United, it was the first draw in all competitions since holding then league leaders Cambridge United 1-1 at home on September 17th and it was only the Reds' fourth clean sheet of the campaign.
Enforced changes from the previous game 14 days earlier at Welling saw Connor Franklin return to left-back with Lathaniel Rowe-Turner's loan spell expired, whilst new striker Shaun Harrad was about to become a father and had been excused the journey.
However, manager Nicky Law opted for a 4-5-1 formation with Job Ayo Akinde the lone front runner, so Tom Shaw was able to return to a bolstered midfield, while Nick Fenton was recalled to the heart of the defence at the expense of Darran Kempson.
The heavy pitch at Old Sarum had survived a morning pitch inspection, and just about withstood a further battering from a howling gale and torrential rain during the latter part of the first half.
Alfreton's approach to the game was thankfully brighter than the elements, Akinde beating Clovis Kamdjo to the ball on the edge of the area before seeing his seventh minute shot loop behind off City skipper Glenn Wilson.
Almost immediately at the other end Michael Wylde's error allowed Warren Feeney a sight of goal, but a poor touch left Jon Worsnop with a comfortable save.
Akinde just failed to reach Shaw's 12th minute through-ball, which resulted in a swift Salisbury break with Feeney again involved but this time outwitted by Fenton.
Godfrey Poku's impressive run to the edge of the area before slotting the ball to Akinde five minutes later ended with the striker's drive being diverted behind by the outstretched leg of home keeper Willem Puddy.
Four minutes later Shaw found himself in unchartered territory when Akinde sent him free on goal, but the slightest hesitation allowed Ryan Brett to tackle back and prevent a goal.
Amidst the eye of the storm Poku's low drive earned a 33rd minute corner, with Wylde heading over from Josh Law's delivery, then Chris Westwood fired over from an ambitious 25 yards.
Law's 47th minute corner led to Wylde's stubbed shot being blocked before Dan Bradley's effort sailed over, then five minutes later Alfreton survived Salisbury's clearest chance of breaking the deadlock.
Chris McPhee looked certain to score after James White's partially blocked shot fell kindly to him, but Westwood stuck out a foot on the line to divert his shot behind for a corner.
Elliott Frear tested Worsnop with a ferocious 25 yarder in the 58th minute, the Reds' keeper turning the ball around the post at full stretch, before pouncing at Kamdjo's feet after the corner had not been dealt with.
Frear fired wide on 65 minutes after Feeney had played Robert Sinclair through, then after a lull in the proceedings Paul Clayton's stifled shot eight minutes from time was easily gathered by Puddy from Bradley's cross.
Daniel Meadows missed the target from 20 yards in the 85th minute after another Bradley delivery from the right, then White went close at the other end from Feeney's cross following a swift break.
Alfreton Town Team:
15 Jon Worsnop
07 Josh Law
16 Nick Fenton
02 Bradley Wood (12 Daniel Meadows, 61 mins)
10 Dan Bradley
04 Ws Chriestwood
03 Connor Franklin
05 Michael Wylde
08 Tom Shaw
23 Godfrey Poku
18 Job Ayo Akinde (09 Paul Clayton, 79 mins)
Substitutes not used: (Only four named)
06 Darran Kempson
20 Jay McFadzean
Salisbury City Team:
01 Will Puddy
12 Clovis Kamdjo
04 Ryan Brett
16 Brian Dutton
23 Angus MacDonald
06 Glenn Wilson
11 Elliott Frear
07 Chris McPhee (20 Dan Fitchett, 80 mins)
17 Warren Feeney
13 Rob Sinclair (08 Ricky Wellard, 71 mins)
09 Jamie White
Substitutes not used: (Only four named)
18 Adam Flint
25 James Bittner
Salisbury City - Kamdjo, Brett, Dutton
AlfretonTown - Job Ayo Akinde
Man of the Match: Godfrey Poku
Referee: Justin Amey of Bournemouth