03 October 2015
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Alfreton Town succumbed to a second successive league defeat in yet another game of two very definite halves.
Not for the first time this season the Reds dominated the opening 45 minutes but they only went in level after conceding on ten minutes and equalising through Jordan Robertson’s fifth goal in six games seventeen minutes later.
Also not for the first time this season, Alfreton disappointingly lost their way in the second period of the game with the side unable to get their passing game going again and too many long balls forward simply coming straight back at them.
A well-drilled Stalybridge grew strongly into the game after the break and their sharper passing and better movement up front paid dividends with two second half goals swinging the points deservedly their way.
The end result was that Alfreton lost the chance to make an impression and close the gap on the leading promotion pack and they now sit a very average tenth with four wins, four draws and four defeats from their opening twelve games.
With a full strength squad to choose from, manager Law opted to bring Dan Bradley straight back into the team following a seven-game suspension-inflicted absence.
And it was the returning Bradley who had the game’s first shot on three minutes, his firm 25 yarder flying into the arms of Celtic keeper Tony McMillan.
A strong start from Alfreton continued and a Joe Leesley cross from the left was deflected off a defender for the game’s first corner on six minutes.
Another powerful strike from Sam Jones from just outside the area brought a fine diving save from McMillan who went full length to turn it around a post.
It looked a matter of time before a goal came, but when it did it was at the other end as Celtic hit back to snatch the lead on ten minutes. Alex Johnson set strike partner Steve Tames free and he buried an angled drive in Stalybridge’s first raid of any note.
A surging run from midfield by Bradley took him past two players but having laid the ball out wide for the oncoming Cliff Moyo, the latter had strayed offside.
In reply, Adam Farrell curled a free kick narrowly over the top for Stalybridge at the end of spell of concerted pressure from the visitors.
Alfreton responded with another move down the right and from Moyo’s cross, McMillan punched the ball clear from the head of Jamie Jackson, Sam Jones’s follow-up shot striking team-mate Jordan Robertson on the edge of the area.
In the next raid Niall Heaton’s long throw was met by the head of Tom Allan but he put it well wide.
Alfreton had been knocking on the door and they finally equalised on 27 minutes. Another Niall Heaton long throw, this time from the right, cleared a posse of players and landed at the feet of Jordan Robertson who clinically steered home into the bottom corner from eight yards.
Another strong run down the right from Bradley brought Alfreton a corner on 32 minutes from which McMillan gratefully snatched the ball out of the air.
Stalybridge central defender Jack Higgins went in the book for deliberate hand-ball on 37 minutes as Alfreton continued to dominate the half.
Three minutes before the break Jamie Jackson’s shot was blocked by the chest of a visiting defender and as Alfreton kept up the pressure a Heaton low cross from the left was partially blocked before another offside flag halted the Reds’ attack.
Half-time arrived with the visitors probably happy to be on level terms having survived a first half grilling from the Reds.
Match report to follow . . .Alfreton opened the second half on the attack and a lovely through-ball from Bradley gave Sam Jones a shooting chance but his effort was deflected for a corner.
The Reds survived a Stalybridge free kick on 51 minutes with Aidan Chippendale chipping it straight through the area and out before Town replied with Sam Jones bursting through the middle but shooting well wide.
Todd Jordan went into the book for a late challenge on Aidan Chippendale as the Reds struggled to get a foot-hold in the game.
Celtic had the ball in the net on 53 minutes with Adam Farrell heading home but the visitors’ joy was cut short by a late offside flag then Matt Duke was out quickly to snatch the ball away from the onrushing Alex Johnson.
Alfreton made the first change of the game with Andi Thanoj coming on for Niall Heaton on 58 minutes, before Jordan Robertson was booked for dissent on 61 minutes, another sign that things were not going to plan.
A strong run down the left by Bradley won Alfreton a corner from which Celtic failed to clear and Jackson’s follow up shot from the edge of the area was blocked at source by Bohan Dixon.
Jones brought another fine save from McMillan with an 18 yard snap-shot on 66 minutes but Celtic had been building some promising moves of their own and they grabbed the lead on 70 minutes.
Steve Tames fired home a loose ball for his second of the game after an Adam Farrell angled drive had come back off the near upright.
Alfreton had a double let off on 78 minutes with Adam Farrell’s powerful 25 yarder cannoning against the top of the post and from the follow up Dale Wright saw his shot deflected behind by Sam Berry for a corner.
Another promising Alfreton move sparked by Bradley and crossed by Jackson was ended by another confident high catch by the outstanding McMillan before Celtic broke again to seal victory with a third goal on 83 minutes, Alex Johnson cracking home a third goal from close range as Alfreton failed to clear more Stalybridge pressure from a long throw.
Alfreton had shouts for a penalty turned down when Jamie Jackson appeared to be tripped with four minutes remaining but, as with the second half performance, there was little conviction in the appeal.
Alfreton Town Team:
1. Matt Duke
2. Tom Allan
3. Sam Jones (John Johnston, 80 mins)
4. Cliff Moyo
5. Niall Heaton (Andi Thanoj, 58 mins)
6. Todd Jordan (Ryan Wilson, 80 mins)
7. Joe Leesley (c)
8. Dan Bradley
9. Sam Berry
10. Jamie Jackson
11. Jordan Robertson
Substitutes not used:
Stalybridge Celtic Team:
1. Tony McMillan (c)
2. Oliver Crowley
3. Aidan Chippendale
4. John Shaw
5. Jack Higgins
6. Aaron Chalmers
7. Bohan Dixon (Amour Lingouba, 90+1 mins)
8. Adam Farrell
9. Alex Johnson (Peter Wylie, 90+3 mins)
10. Steve Tames (Darius Osei, 89 mins)
11. Dale Wright
Substitutes not used:
Alfreton Town – Jordan Robertson (27)
Stalybridge Celtic – Steve Tames (10 & 70), Alex Johnson (83)
Alfreton Town – Sam Berry (foul on Steve Tames, 17), Todd Jordan (foul on Aidan Chippendale, 53), Jordan Robertson (dissent, 61 minutes)
Stalybridge Celtic – Jack Higgins (hand ball, 37 minutes)
Man of the Match: Dan Bradley
Referee: Simon Barrow of Wilnecote