11 October 2014
Dave Pursglove and Bill Wheatcroft's match picture album here
Alfreton Town ended a four-match losing streak in fine style as they deservedly beat high-flying Torquay United in front of the live BT Sport cameras in a rousing game at the Impact Arena.
In a first ever match between the sides, Alfreton chose the perfect moment to show the watching nation their true capabilities and striker Karl Hawley enjoyed himself to the full, bagging a brace of goals against his former employers.
The Reds had also gone over four games without a goal but produced the goods with four superb goals which saw off a very good United side who had twice come from behind.
The catalyst for Alfreton was recalled striker Paul Clayton who turned in a man of the match performance capped by a superb goal before he was replaced by Joe Ironside on 74 minutes having blown himself out in his first start since the opening game of the season.
The visitors began with a flurry with Torquay getting in behind the home defence but failing to take advantage of Louis Briscoe’s set up.
And United went close in the second minute, Ryan Bowman heading a yard wide as he got onto a cross from Courtney Cameron from the left.
In reply, the Reds built down the left and Bradley Wood’s cross to the front post was met by Paul Clayton but he could not direct his header on target.
Wood then won the first corner of the game on Alfreton’s right from which Martin Rice gratefully grabbed Karl Hawley’s header at the far post.
Alfreton produced a well worked free kick on seven minutes with Tom Shaw’s ball in from the right being met by the head of Paul Clayton and the onrushing Hawley was just unable to get on the end of it in front of goal.
The first save of the game came on eleven minutes with Hawley’s low drive from Shaw’s lovely through pass easily held low down by Rice.
Torquay replied with a free kick from Luke Young which picked out the head of Louis Briscoe deep in the home area but it drifted harmlessly wide.
Ryan Bowman then wasted a great chance on 17 minutes when he blazed well over after being played through deep into the area by a pass from Courtney Cameron.
A minute later, the miss proved costly as Alfreton carved the lead. Former Gulls striker KARL HAWLEY latched onto a flick on by Clayton and finished with a firm low drive from eight yards.
It was Alfreton’s first league goal in 406 minutes.
Torquay spurned another good effort on 26 minutes with Briscoe again firing wide after being set up by a ball in from Toby Ajala at the end of a terrific pacy burst down the right flank.
There was a major let off for Alfreton on 28 minutes when goalkeeper Cameron Dawson allowed the ball to roll away from him as he lined up a clearance from a Dan Gray back pass, the keeper just getting back to clear before the ball crossed the line.
A 25-yard free kick from Luke Young deflected off the home defensive wall for the first corner to Torquay from which they equalised on 30 minutes.
The ball fell to LOUIS BRISCOE who neatly turned and fired home a superb curling shot from 16 yards inside the right-hand post past a diving Cameron.
In the next United raid, Luke Graham got in a last ditch challenge to stop Ryan Bowman from advancing into the penalty area.
As Alfreton replied, a swinging ball in from Wood from the right had to be cleared for a corner on the far post.
The Reds then had a second goal contentiously chalked off for a decision only the referee knew about with Luke Graham’s close range header from the corner disallowed by Mr Toner on 32 minutes.
Another pacy United raid on 39 minutes ended with Cameron’s shot comfortably saved by Dawson.
Alfreton stuck manfully to their task and the visiting defence were reduced some desperate clearances at times and the Reds went back in front on 45 minutes when Tom Shaw pounced on the second of two headed flick-ons firstly by Paul Clayton, and secondly by Hawley in the Torquay area to fire home a low right-footed shot from twelve yards.
Ajala became the second man into the referee’s notebook for a rash challenge on Dan Gray a minute into two of added time at the end of the first half.
Dan Gray had picked up a groin strain in the first half and he was replaced by Jordan Keane for the Reds at the start of the second half, the hosts opening well with both Shaw and David Mellor having shots blocked on the edge of the United penalty area.
Torquay swept upfield and fed the ball into first half substitute Acheampong whose shot deflected wide for a corner and as the Gulls continued to press, a second one was forced on the right and then a third one on the left but the home defence stood firm.
Alfreton hit back with a swift raid down the left but substitute Keane’s ball in only found the arms of Rice.
Torquay again responded well to win another corner with Lathaniel Rowe-Turner back well to stab clear of Briscoe.
United equalised on 54 minutes when an ambitious swerving shot from captain Luke Young from way out near the right touchline saw Cameron Dawson only able to parry the ball down and LOUIS BRISCOE grabbed the complete gift and netted from almost on the line.
Briscoe then failed with an ambitious overhead kick before being ruled offside in the next raid as Torquay, who had visibly upped the tempo, threatened with every attack and Josh Wakefield fired a couple of yards over from the edge of the area.
Tom Shaw stung Rice’s fingers with a belting 25 yard shot before Hawley wriggled free down the left but could only drift his cross behind the front upright.
The visiting defence then led a charmed life as Alfreton strove for a third goal, Clayton slipping at the vital moment after a good move involving Shaw, Mellor and Wood.
As the game opened out into an amazing end to end scenario, Acheampong took advantage of a poor home clearance but had his shot blocked at close quarters on 69 minutes by Dawson who atoned for his earlier error with a smart save.
Again the miss proved costly for the visitors as Alfreton got their noses in front for a third time on 70 minutes.
Paul Clayton showed terrific strength to hold off Pearce, before producing a sublime chipped finish over the onrushing Rice and it was 3-2. Clayton was booked for unsporting conduct as he celebrated a wonderful second goal of the season for him a little too much for the official's liking.
Clayton was substituted four minutes later after running himself into the ground.
Alfreton made it 4-2 on 77 minutes when a United defender Courtney Richards slipped, KARL HAWLEY sped away down the right and fired home a powerful angled shot for his second of the game.
Dan Bradley came on for David Mellor and Courtney Cameron was replaced by Ashley Yeoman for United on 80 minutes as United’s attacking efforts ran out of their earlier fizz and accuracy against a hugely resolute effort from Alfreton’s back four and defensive midfield.
Hawley went close to a hat-trick goal in the last minute of four of added time but his lovely clipped effort from the right-side of the penalty area drifted just over the bar at the opposite side.
Alfreton Town Team:
20 Cameron Dawson
02 Bradley Wood
04 Duane Courtney ©
05 Luke Graham
03 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
16 Dan Gray (15 Jordan Keane, h/t)
12 Tom Shaw
11 Anthony Howell
24 David Mellor (10 Dan Bradley, 70 mins))
09 Paul Clayton
23 Karl Hawley
Substitutes not used:
14 Jake Sheridan
17 Massiah McDonald
Torquay United Team:
01 Martin Rice
02 Dale Tonge
03 Tom Cruise
05 Krystian Pearce
07 Louis Briscoe
08 Luke Young ©
09 Ryan Bowman (24 Duane Ofori-Acheampong, 40 mins)
10 Toby Ajala
11 Courtney Cameron (14 Ashley Yeoman, 80 mins)
16 Courtney Richards
22 Josh Wakefield
Substitutes not used:
06 Ben Harding
20 Jake Hutchings
23 Jordan Seabright
Alfreton Town – Karl Hawley (18 & 70),Tom Shaw (45), Paul Clayton (70)
Torquay United – Louis Briscoe (30 & 54)
Alfreton Town – David Mellor (40 mins, foul on Courtney Cameron), Paul Clayton (70, unsporting conduct)
Torquay United – Toby Ajala (45+1, foul on Dan Gray)
Attendance breakdown: 736 including 182 from Torquay
Man of the Match: Paul Clayton
Referee: Ben Toner of Darwen