20 September 2014
BILL WHEATCROFT AND DAVE PURSGLOVE'S MATCH PICTURE ALBUM HERE
Alfreton Town made it three wins in a row and ten points from the last twelve on offer with a narrow 1-0 home victory over Nuneaton in an often scrappy game.
It was a first ever win over the Warwickshire club in the Conference Premier Division for the Reds and was one which moved them out of the bottom four.
Reds boss Nicky Law opted for the same starting eleven which had beaten Telford in midweek but pleasingly, there were places on the bench for fit again Jordan Keane and Dan Bradley.
The all-important goal came on 62 minutes with David Mellor bagging his first goal for the club as he continues his fine start to life with the club on loan from Oldham Athletic.
The managerless visitors began well and a superb ball in from Lee Fowler from the game’s first free kick brought danger just 68 seconds in.
A header down from Andy Brown fell to the feet of Craig Curran who turned sharply but saw his eight yard shot on the turn was kept out by a smart diving save by Cameron Dawson.
Alfreton’s midfield hardly saw the ball for the first five minutes as Nuneaton continued to ask all of the early questions.
The Reds almost got in behind the visiting defence but Joe Ironside was flagged offside from an astute back-heeled pass from strike partner Karl Hawley.
Bradley Wood twice got down the right side and produced crosses but put them both behind the bar to spoil promising situations.
Exodus Geohaghan’s first long throw of the game from the right ended with a confident and competent take from Reds keeper Cameron Dawson.
Fowler was afforded far too much time and space again and got free down the home left and sent in another deep cross, fortunately it drifted beyond the far post and out of play.
Alfreton were twice denied by Nuneaton keeper Reice Charles-Cook who stood up strongly on 22 minutes to prevent Karl Hawley from getting a shot away after he had latched onto a header into the box by Wood, the loose ball fell to Chris Smith whose powerful low effort was again blocked by Charles-Cook.
Nuneaton went close on 24 minutes with a lovely move out of defence cutting Alfreton open and ending with Craig Curran curling his shot just beyond the far post.
Alfreton conceded another cheap free kick on the half-hour and after Fowler cleverly played the ball short, Adam Walker let fly from 30 yards with Dawson needing two grabs to get the stinging shot under control.
Wood finally got a cross right on 35 minutes and picked out Hawley beyond the far post but he unfortunately couldn’t keep it down.
Ryan Smith was allowed to progress down the right for Nuneaton despite looking offside, but the youngster was unable to pick anyone out with his cross which curled harmlessly beyond the far post.
Hawley almost got in behind the visiting lines again but unfortunately lost his feet as he prepared to go around former Red Theo Streete.
A second Geohaghan long throw ended with Andy Brown flicking a header on but there was no-one available to take advantage.
As Alfreton replied, Andi Thanoj worked some space on the edge of the area but had his shot charged down and then Joe Ironside lost his footing as he tried to work an opening with Hawley.
One more free kick in the first minute of added time ended with Brown’s header failing to trouble the home goal.
Half-time arrived goalless with the visitors perhaps just shading the half although clear chances were at a premium.
The first chance of the second half fell to former Reds left back Connor Franklin who burst forward but could not find any accuracy with a low shot.
As with the first half, neither side yielded a yard in midfield and defences again held sway.
David Mellor’s sheer persistence enabled him to rob Streete on the left byline and force a corner which was easily cleared and Nuneaton swept straight down the other end to win one of their own.
Nuneaton had two chances in thirty seconds to take the lead.
Geohaghan’s long throw first saw Adam Walker’s low shot blocked at close range by an outstretched leg from Dawson and after the ball had only been partially cleared, Andy Brown’s close range header was again superbly saved by the Reds keeper.
Perhaps gainst the run of play, Alfreton swept down the other end and took the lead on 62 minutes.
Tom Shaw seized on possession down the right and fed Karl Hawley whose tenacity enabled him to get round the back to the byline and pull back for DAVID MELLOR who side-footed home from six yards despite the best efforts of Charles-Cook who got a strong hand to the ball.
Hawley then chanced his arm from 25 yards, his right-footed shot taking a big deflection and taking the sting out of it, allowing Charles-Cook to make an easier save.
After going ahead, Alfreton produced their best spell of the game and went close to increasing their lead on 73 minutes. A Tom Shaw strike from a free kick after an Andy Brown foul on Hawley 25 yards out going round the wall and meeting a fine diving save from Charles-Cook.
Connor Franklin’s driven cross was easily held low down by Dawson for the Reds as the visitors, who used all three substitutes, continued to probe for an equaliser.
A highly dubious free kick award from referee Holmes gave Nuneaton another free kick down the right. Fowler’s curling ball in fell to the feet of Geohaghan who blasted a great chance wide on 88 minutes.
Nuneaton then had late appeals for a penalty when Mellor challenged Theo Streete right on the angle of the penalty area, but thankfully, a referee who had been pedantic throughout, was for once unmoved and the Reds emerged with three precious points.
Alfreton Town Team:
20 Cameron Dawson
02 Bradley Wood ©
03 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
05 Luke Graham
06 Chris Smith
12 Tom Shaw
21 Andi Thanoj (15 Jordan Keane, 58 mins)
11 Anthony Howell
24 David Mellor
18 Joe Ironside
23 Karl Hawley (10 Dan Bradley, 90+1 mins)
Substitutes not used:
09 Paul Clayton
14 Jake Sheridan
17 Massiah McDonald
Nuneaton Town Team:
01 Reice Charles-Cook
27 Leon McSweeney (07 James Armson, 81)
24 Exodus Geohaghan
03 Connor Franklin
05 Gaz Dean ©
26 Lee Fowler
17 Ryan Smith (09 Ben Hutchinson, 69 mins)
11 Theo Streete
06 Adam Walker
10 Andy Brown
25 Craig Curran (08 Jorrin John, 84 mins)
Substitutes not used:
18 Anton Brown
19 James Wren
Alfreton Town – David Mellor (62 mins)
Alfreton Town – Chris Smith (50, foul on Ryan Smith)
Man of the Match: Cameron Dawson
Referee: Adrian Holmes of Castleford