27 February 2016
Bill Wheatcroft's match picture album here
Alfreton Town's impressive unbeaten run continued apace on the Fylde Coast at the weekend, their hard fought 1-0 victory stretching that sequence to 13 games whilst maintaining their 100 per cent away record in 2016.
AFC Fylde stretched the Reds all the way, even rattling the crossbar twice in the first half before Dan Bradley settled the issue in the 40th minute, with his follow-up from Sam Jones' dipping drive that had caused home keeper Matt Urwin to fumble the ball.
Manager Nicky Law made three changes from the side held the previous week by Corby Town, Jordan Robertson replacing the injured Jamie Jackson up front while Andi Thanoj and debutant midfielder Joe Doyle came in at the expense of Cecil Nyoni and Joe Leesley.
Just 15 seconds had elapsed when Dan Bradley whipped in a trademark driven cross from the right that led to Lindon Meikle's lay-off and a blocked Robertson shot.
A neat pass from Doyle sent Meikle on a jinking run before firing over in the 11th minute, a clearance by Todd Jordan at the other end then striking Sam Finley before allowing Dion Charles to advance on goal, with alert keeper Matt Duke nullifying the danger.
A neat series of passes between Danny Rowe and Finley led to the latter firing against the crossbar in the 17th minute, then moments later a stifled effort by Rowe was held low and securely by Duke.
Meikle saw his 30th minute shot blocked from a Thanoj corner, then the dangerous Finley tested Duke to the maximum with a powerful shot that the Reds' keeper clung on to.
A Charles cross in the 38th minute allowed Finley to smash the ball against the bar again, the game swinging dramatically in Alfreton's favour just two minutes later as the deadlock was broken.
There was a clear chance for Alfreton to double their advantage in first half added time, but Robertson's deft flick from another Bradley cross was hacked into touch by Adam Sumner.
Jones hooked a good opportunity wide ten minutes after the break, then in the 61st minute Rowe flashed a shot inches wide after a prolonged run by the Coasters' striker.
Eleven minutes of resolute defending later Meikle emerged with a superb pass that Robertson elected to return to him rather than take a shy at goal with the Fylde rearguard stretched, allowing Tom Hannigan to make a relatively comfortable clearance.
Doyle went close with a shot from a Robertson cross before the Reds survived a hectic goalmouth scramble from an 85th minute corner that involved blocked shots from Josh Langley and substitute Matty Blinkhorn.
Two minutes from time Doyle sprayed a pass out to Bradley on the left before chasing the subsequent cross, Hannigan blindly hacking the ball against Doyle with the rebound settling in Urwin's arms.
Three minutes over the regulation 90 Duke pulled off the save of the afternoon when he tipped over a rasping drive by Langley to secure three vital points for Alfreton, who retain an outside chance of reaching the play-offs.
Alfreton Town Team:
01 Matt Duke
02 Cliff Moyo
03 Todd Jordan
04 Niall Heaton
05 Tom Allan
06 Dan Bradley
07 Andi Thanoj
08 Joe Doyle
09 Lindon Meikle
10 Sam Jones
11 Jordan Robertson
Substitutes not used: (Only 3 named)
AFC Fylde Team:
01 Matt Urwin
02 Adam Sumner
03 Stephen Crainey [Matty Blinkhorn, 62 mins]
04 Josh Langley
05 Tom Hannigan
06 Richie Baker
07 Dion Charles
08 Sam Finley
09 Danny Rowe
10 Matty Hughes
11 Danny Lloyd [James Hardy, 76 mins]
Substitutes not used:
Ben Hinchcliffe (GK)
Alfreton Town - Dan Bradley (40 mins)
AFC Fylde - Sam Finley [65th] foul on Andi Thanoj; Danny Lloyd [71st] foul on Joe Doyle
Alfreton Town - Joe Doyle [77 mins, foul on Sam Finley), Tom Allan [79 mins, unsporting conduct)
Man of the Match: The whole team (pulled together superbly)
Referee: Gareth Mellor of Leeds