16 July 2013
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Alfreton Town were given their stiffest test yet as Walsall inflicted a decisive 6-0 defeat upon the Reds at the Impact Arena on Tuesday night in their latest pre-season friendly.
However several positives will have been gleaned by manager Nicky Law from what essentially was a thorough workout against a strong League One side, with goalkeeper Mats Morch making several outstanding saves.
Alfreton had kept a tight rein for the first half hour, without actually creating an opening themselves, with Morch turning a stinging Milan Lalkovic free-kick around the post after six minutes and saving Keiran Morris' low drive in the 25th minute.
Romaine Sawyers opened Walsall's account on 30 minutes when he hooked in James McQuilken's cross somewhat untidily at the near post, then six minutes later the advantage was doubled when Lalkovic ran on to Nicky Featherstone's through-ball to slot past Mors from a tight angle.
In added time, which had accrued through a sensible water break midway through the first half, Paul Downing was denied a goal with another acrobatic save by the Reds stand-in keeper.
John McGrath fired over for the hosts on 50 minutes, then Morch made a point-blank save from Troy Hewitt, but Alfreton somehow failed to capitalise on a golden scoring opportunity with 63 minutes elapsed.
A rare defensive error saw Downing and keeper Richard O'Donnell present the ball to Stuart Fleetwood, who was unable to turn it in as it rolled across the face of goal, the move extended by Paul Clayton who laid it back for Daniel Meadows to fire over from 18 yards.
Kristian Ramsey-Dickson almost made an immediate impact on 70 minutes but could only shoot straight at O'Donnell, then four minutes later Walsall were three goals ahead when Ashley Hemmings scored with a low drive from James Baxendale's cross.
The fourth goal followed within a minute when Baxendale steered the ball around Morch to allow Craig Westcarr to convert from close range, then Westcarr obliged with Walsall's fifth on 83 minutes with a low drive following a strong central run.
The Reds never gave up and Clayton saw a shot held and Alastair Taylor fired across the face of goal, but right at the end Troy Hewitt completed the scoring from close range following another McQuilken cross.
Alfreton Town Team:
Bradley Wood [Jake Green h/t]
Connor Franklin [Aaron Webster 69]
John McGrath [Dan Bradley 60]
Darran Kempson [Paul Clayton h/t]
Tom Shaw [Paul Weldon h/t],
Danny Meadows (Alastair Taylor, 67)
Stuart Fleetwood [Kristian Ramsey-Dickson 67]
Richard O'Donnell; Ben Purkiss [Ben George 66], Malvind Benning [Andy Taylor h/t], Andy Butler [Dean Holden h/t], Paul Downing [James Chambers 66],Nicky Featherstone [Reece Flanagan 66], James McQuilken,Sam Mantom [James Baxendale h/t], Milan Lalkovic [Troy Hewitt h/t],Romaine Sawyers [Craig Westcarr h/t], Keiran Morris [Ashley Hemmings h/t]
Goals: Walsall - Romaine Sawyers (30), Milan Lalkovic (36), Ashley Hemmings (74), Craig Westcarr (75 & 83),Troy Hewitt (90).
Man of the Match: John McGrath
Referee: Rob Rees