23 January 2016
Match picture album courtesy of Bill Wheatcroft, Dave Pursglove and Shaun Challenger here
Alfreton Town left it late to clinch victory for the second Vanarama National League North home league game in succession as they saw off a strong, well-drilled Chorley side 1-0 thanks to Lindon Meikle’s coolly taken 81st minute winner.
In a keenly-contested clash, the win was deserved as the Reds were the best side overall and created all the best chances bar perhaps two. One came early in the first half for Chorley with Andy Bond firing narrowly wide, the second came right at the end and saw Jack Lynch fail to hit the target with the visitors’ clearest opportunity of the game from the edge of the penalty area.
Prior to that, Nicky Law’s side had created at least four good chances in each half, all of which had gone untaken, and defensively, Alfreton were as strong as they have been all season with Tom Allan and Brad McGowan in stand-out form.
But such is the belief and strength in this squad that it came as no surprise when they did carve out the winner which gained them a league double over the Magpies and Alfreton, who are unbeaten in 2016, extended their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions, five in the league.
Latest signing Cecil Nyoni had to be content with watching the win from the bench.
A strong start from Alfreton saw them win their first corner on six minutes when Dan Bradley’s right flank cross was deflected behind.
From Joe Leesley’s excellent inswinging flag kick two Reds players were inches away from connecting with it in the six yard box.
The hosts had to contend with several robust challenges across midfield from a busy Chorley outfit who looked far from rusty despite a two-week lay-off.
A second Alfreton corner came on ten minutes as Bradley began to threaten down the right and Tom Allan had the game’s first shot from Leesley’s delivery to the front post but could not direct it on target.
Chorley went close to taking the lead on eleven minutes when Paul Jarvis teed up Andy Bond and his angled low shot went narrowly past the far post.
Magpies right back Mark Ross just got back in time to snuff out the threat of Sam Jones through the middle then another quality delivery by Leesley on 15 minutes saw the visiting defence just survive at the expense of another corner.
Leesley was rightly yellow carded for a rash challenge on Will Beesley on 16 minutes before the Reds broke well down the left through Lindon Meikle on 21 minutes but Tom Allan chose the wrong option of attempting a shot instead of crossing to waiting players in the area then Leesley over-hit a pass for Sam Smith down the right with Meikle in acres of space down the left.
Beesley ‘bought’ a chreap free kick by throwing himself into Cliff Moyo when he had over-run the ball just outside the Reds penalty area on the left and from Andy Bond’s delivery Andi Thanoj got up well to head clear.
Alfreton went close on 29 minutes when Bradley and Moyo combined down the right and from the latter’s low cross Meikle’s goalward stab was deflected for another corner.
Leesley’s delivery picked out Sam Smith at the far post but he headed narrowly over the top.
Chorley replied with a left flank raid but after Darren Stephenson cut in he fired well wide of Matt Duke’s right-hand post.
The visitors went close on 34 minutes when a 25 yard free kick from Andy Bond missed the left-hand angle by inches but Alfreton responded with a Meikle cross deep inside the penalty area picking out Sam Smith ten yards out but he headed straight at a grateful Sam Ashton in the visiting goal.
A minute later Smith headed down and Sam Jones flashed a 20 yard shot on target which Ashton saved well.
Jack Lynch was yellow carded for an awful aerial challenge on Brad McGowan who was set to head clear then seconds later Tom Allan was booked for Alfreton for pulling Mark Ross back.
Alfreton’s fifth corner of the half arrived on 45 minutes when Bond got back to shut out a Dan Bradley cross and from the flag kick Chorley survived a shot from Meikle which was blocked by a defender and Smith’s follow up which Ashton stopped with an outstretched boot.
Alfreton began down the slope in the second half and Ashton needed two grabs to stop Sam Jones from getting onto a Tom Allan head down at the far post.
An ambitious 25 yarder from central defender Adam Roscoe proved to be just that in reply for Chorley as it sped yards over the top then Jake Cottrell was booked for a rash challenge on Andi Thanoj on 51 minutes.
A fantastic crossfield pass from Sam Jones picked out Dan Bradley in acres of space but his shot didn’t do the pass justice as he flashed a volley well wide.
Chorley fashioned a half-chance on the hour but Cottrell’s low shot was well blocked away by Todd Jordan and as Alfreton replied a Thanoj shot from just outside the area saw a deflection take the sting out of it and Ashton had an easy save.
Alfreton won their first corner of the second half on 65 minutes and from Leesley’s delivery Sam Smith once again got up first but headed over the top then Sam Jones latched onto a long Dan Bradley cross but saw his stabbed effort blocked at almost point blank range by Ashton.
In reply, a rasping shot from Cottrell was deflected over for a corner by McGowan
Both sides made their first changes with Jordan Robertson coming on for Sam Smith on 74 minutes and two minutes later Chorley brought on Tom Field for Paul Jarvis.
After Robertson was booked for dissent contesting a free kick, Alfreton finally broke the deadlock on 81 minutes when Tom Allan’s through ball picked out the unmarked Lindon Meikle eight yards out and he calmly put the Reds in front as he coolly steered into the opposite corner after Ashton committed himself the other way.
Chorley swapped Jordan Connerton for Tom Field to conclude a very busy minute.
The visitors had one final late chance to level when Roscoe squared for Lynch but he blazed well over the top from just inside the penalty area.
Another win, another clean sheet and job well done for the Reds.
Alfreton Town Team:
01 Matt Duke
02 Cliff Moyo
03 Todd Jordan
04 Tom Allan
05 Brad McGowan
06 Andi Thanoj
07 Joe Leesley
08 Lindon Meikle
09 Sam Jones
10 Sam Smith (Jordan Robertson, 74 mins)
11 Dan Bradley (c)Substitutes not used:
01 Sam Ashton
02 Mark Ross
03 Will Beesley
04 Kieran Charnock
05 Adam Roscoe
06 Jake Cottrell (c)
07 Paul Jarvis (Tom Field, 76 mins)
08 Jack Lynch
09 Jordan Connerton (Lewis Guy, 81 mins)
10 Andy Bond
11 Darren Stephenson
Substitutes not used:
Alfreton Town - Lindon Meikle (81)
Alfreton Town – Joe Leesley (16 minutes, foul on Will Beesley). Tom Allan (40 minutes, foul on Mark Ross), Jordan Robertson ( dissent, 81 minutes)
Chorley – Jack Lynch (40, foul on Brad McGowan), Jake Cottrell (51 minutes, foul on Andi Thanoj)
Man of the Match: Tom Allan
Referee: Steven Copeland of Wallasey