13 August 2013
Bill Wheatcroft's match picture album here
Alfreton Town are up and running for the new Skrill Premier season with a magnificent win against last season's runners-up at the Impact Arena.
Two goals from Dan Bradley against his old team, either side of a Tom Shaw strike, helped the Reds to defeat Kidderminster Harriers for the first time at the sixth attempt.
All the goals might have been scored by midfielders but up front Alfreton positively sparkled, with Paul Clayton as lively as ever and a promising debut from journeyman striker John Akinde whose pace at times was electrifying.
Solid performances at the back held Harriers at bay, but the visitors really should have scored more than their 79th minute consolation in a game that was played at a frantic pace throughout.
Anthony Malbon's seventh minute drive was held low by Reds' keeper Ross Atkins, but just four minutes later Bradley had steered the ball home from six yards from a well-practised Josh Law free-kick to give Alfreton the lead.
John McGrath's lob from outside the area was held by Harriers' keeper Danny Lewis, then a superb point-blank block by Atkins prevented Malbon from scoring in the 18th minute from a precise Marvin Johnson cross.
Nick Fenton headed forcibly behind to concede a corner from Johnson's 20th minute cross, then in response a deflected Tom Shaw shot produced a stretching save from Lewis.
Bradley's through-ball on 24 minutes released Akinde, who was denied and temporarily injured by an excellent tackle on the edge of the area by Chey Dunkley, then two minutes later Kidderminster skipper Kyle Storer smashed the ball against the crossbar with venom from 25 yards.
Malbon badly miskicked in front of goal from a Storer cross, and as the visitors continued to press Fenton headed behind again from an awkward Malbon delivery.
Johnson skipped through six minutes before the break only to shoot woefully wide from a good position, then Akinde started the second half with a piercing run before firing wide.
Michael Gash was afforded a clear header at the back post from a deep right-flank cross in the 47th minute but missed the target, then Bradley shot wide for the Reds after Law's lengthy run.
A second goal for Alfreton arrived after 51 minutes, the ball knocked inside by Akinde for Clayton to chest down into the path of Shaw, who fired home it into the corner of the net from 12 yards for his first league goal for the club.
Gash glanced a header wide from another Johnson cross as play once again oscillated from end to end, with Law then firing wide for the Reds after another long run.
The third and best goal of the night came after 70 minutes when Clayton sent Bradley on the longest run of the game, the midfielder's sortie culminating in a powerful low drive from 25 yards to beat Lewis.
Clayton glanced a header wide from a Bradley cross before Dunkley wasted yet another Kidderminster chance from a Johnson corner, but with 11 minutes remaining Storer was able to blast home a shot from the edge of the penalty area after a neat back-heel by Gash.
Right at the end Bradley almost completed his hat-trick after good approach work from Law and Akinde, but had he scored would have been caught off-side anyway.
Alfreton Town Team:
01 Ross Atkins
02 Bradley Wood
03 Connor Franklin
04 Chris Westwood
07 Josh Law
10 Dan Bradley
16 Nick Fenton
08 Tom Shaw
17 John McGrath
09 Paul Clayton
18 Job Ayo Akinde
Substitutes not used:
06 Darran Kempson
12 Daniel Meadows
14 Alastair Taylor
11 Kristian Ramsey-Dickson
13 Daniel Wishart
Kidderminster Harriers Team:
01 Danny Lewis
02 Lee Vaughan
03 Mickey Demetriou
06 Chey Dunkly
30 Josh Gowling
04 Kyle Storer
08 Lee Fowler
18 Callum Gittings (17 James Dance, 46 mins)
09 Michael Gash
10 Anthony Malbon (14 Dior Angus, 62 mins)
11 Marvin Johnson
Substitutes not used:
23 Nathan Vaughan
05 Jamie Tolley
07 Jack Byrne
Alfreton Town - Dan Bradley (11 & 70), Tom Shaw (51). Kidderminster Harriers - Kyle Storer (79).
Alfreton Town - Bradley Wood (41, foul on Marvin Johnson). Kidderminster Harriers - Callum Gittings (36, foul on John McGrath).
Man of the Match: Dan Bradley
Referee: Ross Joyce