30 April 2016
Alfreton Town finished the season on a high as they cemented tenth place in the Vanarama National League North with a 1-0 win at North Ferriby United.
The Reds have also stretched their phenomenal run of away games to 13 without defeat going back to 5th December, and by the time the 2016/17 season whirrs into action that particular statistic will have extended to eight months.
Ferriby will undoubtedly have had the diversion of an impending play-off fixture, but take nothing away from an impressive Reds' performance, which included season-best displays from midfielder Ryan Wilson and striker Sam Smith.
lronically the pair constituted the two changes made by manager Nicky Law following the Derbyshire Senior Cup triumph four days earlier, the injured Jamie Jackson and Lindon Meikle making way.
Smith went on to score the winner in the 65th minute, despite being bandaged up after sustaining a nasty cut to his head earlier in the proceedings, smashing the ball home from eight yards after Sam Jones had seen his strike from a Wilson corner charged down.
Bizarrely the corner had been won when keeper Matt Duke's innocuous punt upfield needed tipping over by Adam Nicklin in the Ferriby goal, after the ball had bounced awkwardly in the area.
Pressure from the start had seen Jones go close before having his shot blocked by Danny Hone, Smith almost finding the target on two occasions and Joe Leesley glancing a header from a Wilson corner wide of the near post before the hosts' first attack in the 18th minute.
lt was a Liam King free-kick that triggered a flurry of corners, but Alfreton resolutely held firm and Nicklin had to race out of goal to clear when Jones' back-heel sent Wilson through in response.
Mark Gray almost headed Wilson's 25th minute corner past his own keeper, then both Smith and Jones failed to make contact with a wicked Dan Bradley cross, the first half ending with Gray heading wide for United from another corner.
Two minutes after the interval Tom Allan's free-kick was almost turned in by Smith, but Nicklin parried at full stretch and Russ Fry cleared off the line with Ferriby's defence as wide open as the adjacent Humber estuary.
Wilson did well to submit a decent angled drive, despite lying on the ground with his back to goal, then as the hour mark approached both King and Kendall squandered good chances with Alfreton stretched.
Just after the goal Jones fired over before successive shots from Jones and Leesley were parried by Nicklin, then Gray did his best to score an own goal again when he sliced a Leesley cross on to the roof of his own net.
Duke had the last word, racing out of goal to block as Kendall was sent through by Gray, the Reds holding out for a really well-earned win.
Alfreton Town Team:
01 Matt Duke
02 Cliff Moyo
03 Tom Allan
04 Todd Jordan
05 Niall Heaton
06 Cecil Nyoni
07 Joe Leesley
08 Ryan Wilson
09 Sam Jones
10 Sam Smith (Lindon Meikle, 90+2)
11 Dan Bradley
Substitutes not used:
(Only three named)
North Ferriby United Team:
01 Adam Nicklin
02 Sam Topliss
03 Josh Wilde (Ben Middleton, 88)
04 Liam King
05 Danny Hone
06 Mark Gray
07 Wayne Brooksby
08 Russell Fry
09 Ryan Kendall
10 Adam Bolder (Nathan Hotte, 74)
11 Curtis Bateson (Danny Emerton, 48)
Substitutes not used:
Alfreton Town - Sam Smith (65 mins)
North Ferriby United - None
Alfreton Town - Cecil Nyoni [17th] foul on Fry; Todd Jordan [39th] foul on Brooksby; Sam Smith [39th] dissent; Niall Heaton [78th] foul on Kendall.
Man of the Match: Ryan Wilson
Referee: Iain Turner of Redcar