27 July 2011
Match picture album courtesy of Dave Pursglove and Bill Wheatcroft here
ALFRETON Town put in a promising performance as they recorded a confidence-boosting 2-1 home win over Sheffield United Reserves who were under the watchful eye of first team boss Danny Wilson.
Nicky Law's side deserved the win as they maintained a good tempo and work ethic throughout despite positional experimentation and nine changes being made, eight of them after the half-time interval.
In front of 501, Alfreton began well, forcing the visitors onto the back foot in the early stages.
Broughton had also provided a lovely lay-off on ten minutes for Clayton who took it in his stride but saw his shot denied by the legs of Long and Theo Streete blasted the follow up wide.
Clayton also had an overhead kick blocked by a defender but as the game swung from end to end, Alfreton had the impressive Matt Wilson to thank for hooking the ball off the line to prevent Daniel Philliskirk's close range header from a Tonne corner from crossing the line.
The Reds took the lead a minute later when trialist Drew Broughton set up Paul Clayton to put Alfreton in front as his stabbed ten-yard shot beat Blades keeper George Long at his front post on 33 minutes.
Unfortunately for Broughton - who had impressed with his power and touch - he had to depart shortly afterwards with a slight hamstring injury. He had gone close as early as the third minute when he got up high to beat United keeper George Long to a cross but his glancing header dropped narrowly past the far post.
Clayton went close again when his header at full stretch to a raking ball in from Josh Law was just off target.
The Blades were denied an equaliser a minute before the half-time break when Dan Lowson tipped over a powerful 20-yard strike from Tonne.
United levelled on 49 minutes with a fine shot from Erikke Tonne from the right-hand angle of the penalty area which beat Dan Lowson's dive to his left for sheer pace.
Alfreton responded well using the flanks to good effect and winning a rash of corners from one of which came what proved to be the winner on 55 minutes.
It became 2-1 when Paul Clayton got his second goal of the night, heading in from almost on the line after Jamie Mullan's right flank corner had been headed back across goal towards the far corner of the net by Theo Streete. Clayton made sure it went in.
Shane Murray curled a free kick narrowly wide for United as the game opened up and at the other end Jamie Mullan was unlucky to be a foot over with a neat shot over a stranded Long who had raced out to partially clear.
Mullan was involved again when his ball in was headed powerfully but narrowly wide by Leigh Franks at the far post.
Trialist Mark Hudson was just as close with a 20-yard left footed blast which flew just wide.
It still took a terrific save from Dan Lowson to ensure the victory when he flung himself across goal to get a hand onto and divert a powerful shot from Daniel Philliskirk against the bar. The latter had been sent clear by a superb 30-yard pass from Corey Gregory.
Alfreton almost added a third late on when Chris Senior's driven free kick saw Nathan Jarman get his head to it but his glancing touch took it beyond the far post.
Alfreton Town Team:
1 Dan Lowson (Ross Turner, 83)
2 Josh Law (Leigh Franks, 70)
3 Connor Franklin (Jamie Mullan, 52)
4 Theo Streete
5 Greg Young (c) (Chris Senior, 63)
6 Matt Wilson (Adie Hawes, 65)
7 Anton Brown
8 Jake Moult (Mark Hudson, 52)
9 Paul Clayton (Nathan Jarman, 63)
10 Drew Broughton (Nathan Arnold, )
11 Jordan Hall (Levi Mackin, 57)
Substitutes not used: None.
Sheffield United Team:
1 George Long
3 Connor Brown
15 Jimmy Oates (38 Elliott Whitehouse, 59)
17 Aaron Barry
18 Matty Harriott
21 Shane Murray (33 Jordan Chappell, 70)
22 Daniel Philliskirk
24 David McAllister (36 Corey Gregory, 59)
25 Carlos Pomares
33 Shamus Coneely
37 Erikke Tonne
Substitutes not used: 13 George Willis (GK)
Man of the Match: Matt Wilson
Referee: Mr Nigel Smith of Chesterfield