27 March 2012
Dave Pursglove's match picture album online here
Match highlights can be viewed here
ALFRETON Town's arduous journey to Kent on Tuesday night reaped the rewards of a third successive away win with a solid display despite necessary changes.
It was also the Reds' fifth win in the last six games and they have now pulled ten points clear of the relegation zone whilst maintaining 16th spot in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Darran Kempson had not recovered from Saturday's groin injury that had seen him withdrawn at half-time against Cambridge United, but Adam Quinn was fit to return to the heart of the defence after being side-lined for five games with a calf injury.
Nathan Jarman was serving the first of a two-match suspension for accruing ten bookings, while Paul Clayton was unavailable for selection with a neck injury and Anton Brown was able to celebrate his 250th appearance in his sixth season at Alfreton.
A very poor pitch could not stifle an enthusiastic start to proceedings with both sides creating clear chances before Ebbsfleet took a seventh minute lead through Liam Enver-Marum.
With four minutes elapsed Alfreton keeper Jon Stewart parried a Neil Barrett header from a Ricky Shakes cross, then two minutes later Nathan Arnold found himself one on one with United keeper Lance Cronin who stood firm and saved well.
The opening goal had a suspicion of off-side about it, but it was a cool finish from Enver-Marum after he had been sent through on the left by Ebbsfleet skipper Paul Lorraine before firing low past Stewart from the edge of the area.
Enver-Marum was sent through again in the 14th minute, this time by Ram Marwa, then Adam Cunnington's lob sailed well over at the other end.
Barrett spurned a clear chance for the hosts from eight yards in the 30th minute, the miss punished five minutes later by the equaliser.
Arnold forced a corner which was taken by Josh Law, and Cunnington enjoyed his first goal for the club with a near post header that could only be clawed away by Cronin after it had crossed the line.
Barely two-and-a-half minutes after the break Alfreton led 2-1 through a superb goal from Law after Jake Moult's low drive from the right had forced a corner.
The ball was then worked back to Law, who embarked on a run across the edge of the area before drilling low past Cronin to claim his first goal of the season.
Cunnington just could not generate enough power to convert a back post header from Jamie Mullan's 55th minute cross, then in response Michael West's low drive was held comfortably by Stewart.
Gozie Ugwu cut in from the left in the 61st minute, with his shot spinning off Law before Stewart smothered the ball at the back post as Barrett homed in, then nine minutes later Cunnington should have made the game safe but dragged his shot inches wide after racing clear.
A shot by Calum Willock was turned behind by Stewart with 14 minutes remaining, then Cunnington stole along the by-line before seeing his angled drive come off a defender for another Alfreton corner.
In the third minute of stoppage time Ebbsfleet almost snatched a dramatic late equaliser, but Nathaniel Pinney's blistering run down the right ended with his shot being deflected behind then Willock's effort from eight yards was caught by Stewart.
Alfreton Town Team:
Jon Stewart, Theo Streete, Adam Quinn, Seamus Conneely, Connor Franklin, Josh Law, Jake Moult, Anton Brown, Nathan Arnold (Jamie Mullan, h/t), Anthony Wilson (Leigh Franks 74), Adam Cunnington.
Substitutes not used: Greg Young, Nicky Deverdics, Daniel Meadows.
Ebbsfleet United Team:
Lance Cronin, Paul Lorraine, Ross Smith, Craig Stone, Michael West, Ram Marwa, Joe Howe, Neil Barrett (Liam Bellamy 69), Ricky Shakes (Nathaniel Pinney 77), Liam Enver-Marum (Calum Willock 65), Gozie Ugwu.
Substitutes not used: Tom McNeill, Tom Phipp.
Alfreton Town - Adam Cunnington (35), Josh Law (48).
Ebbsfleet United - Gozie Ugwu (73, foul on Jake Moult).
Alfreton Town - Anthony Wilson (70, foul on Paul Lorraine).
Man of the Match: Josh Law
Referee: Mr Rob Whitton of Braintree