16 November 2013
Dave Pursglove's Braintree Town match picture album here
It may not have been a classic but there was plenty for the additional fans, enticed to the lmpact Arena by reduced admission prices on Saturday, to enthuse over as Alfreton Town overcame a strong Braintree Town side.
Initially there was disappointment in discovering that Jake Speight had been recalled by Mansfield Town after scoring five goals in six games for the Reds, but when Daniel Meadows was asked to play up front alongside Job Ayo Akinde the midfielder looked comfortable in the role and had a hand in all three goals.
Then moments before the kick-off skipper and central defender Nick Fenton pulled up injured and had to be hurriedly replaced by Michael Wylde, who like Meadows played a prominent role in Alfreton's eighth home win from ten games.
Despite the loss of two key players the Reds' highest home gate of the season was treated to a workmanlike performance that fully merited maximum points, with clinical finishes from Akinde, Tom Shaw and Josh Law.
Luke Daley sent a scorching cross whistling through the Reds' goalmouth in the third minute and keeper Ross Atkins held an effort from deep right by James Mulley as the visitors, who had lost just one away game all season, let their intentions be known.
Mulley then cut in from the left to go close with a powerful drive from 20 yards before Alfreton's first attack of note in the 15th minute produced the opening goal in some style, with Dan Bradley's pass being helped on to Wood by Meadows before Akinde stabbed the ball low past keeper Nik Hamaan from six yards.
Bradley then went close from some distance before Akinde had to help out in defence by conceding a corner, which was already Braintree's eighth by the 26th minute, then Wood's strong run down the right needed turning behind by Dean Wells as the Reds responded.
Akinde forced his way through in the 35th minute before firing wide, then Law's snap shot from 12 yards was held by Hamaan before Alfreton's second goal in the 42nd minute which stemmed from a deep Wylde free-kick.
Meadows was again in the thick of things, teeing up Shaw to rifle home from eight yards after Akinde had been first to react to Wylde's delivery, but as half-time approached Atkins needed to be vigilant in tipping over a well-struck free-kick by Chez Isaacs.
Just two minutes into the second half a huge slice of luck gifted Braintree their goal when Daley's cross from the right was not dealt with and rebounded tamely into the net off the back post.
Liam Enver-Marum flashed a header just wide from a huge throw by Exodus Geohaghon and Jordan Cox fired over from 20 yards as the lron pressed for an equaliser, but Alfreton soaked up the pressure before settling the issue in the 65th minute.
Just moments earlier Law had jinked his way into the area from Akinde's pass before seeing his shot saved by Hamaan, but soon made amends by heading home Wood's cross from close range after Meadow's delivery from the left had appeared to be too deep from John McGrath's through-ball.
Full of confidence Meadows played Law wide on the right only to miss the return pass with an attempted stretching header in front of goal, then Akinde helped out in defence again nine minutes from time by blocking a Dan Sparkes free-kick.
A good low save by Atkins denied Cox as Braintree refused to throw in the towel, then at the end Meadows went close with a header from another Wood cross and Bradley sent a rocket fizzing past the upright from 25 yards.
Alfreton Town Team:
07 Josh Law
05 Michael Wylde
21 Lathaniel Rowe-Turner
10 Dan Bradley
04 Chris Westwood
02 Bradley Wood
17 john McGrath
08 Tom Shaw
12 Daniel Meadows
18 Job Ayo Akinde
Substitutes not used:
13 Daniel Wishart
14 Alastair Taylor
09 Paul Clayton
03 Connor Franklin
06 Darran Kempson
Braintree Town Team:
20 Nik Hamann
14 Newman Carney
23 Exodus Geohaghon
19 Dean Wells
12 Luke Daley
08 Kenny Davis (22 Jordan Cox, 46 mins)
26 James Mulley
04 Chez Isaacs
10 Dan Holman (11 Sparkes, 72 mins)
18 Liam Enver-Marum
02 Ryan Peters
Substitutes not used:
05 Matt Paine
21 Sam Griffiths
01 Nathan McDonald
Alfreton Town - Job Ayo Akinde (15), Tom Shaw (42), Josh Law (65)
Braintree Town - Luke Daley (47)
Alfreton Town - Job Ayo Akinde (67, foul on Ryan Peters).
Braintree Town - Jordan Cox (82, off the ball incident)
Shots on target: Alfreton Town 5, Braintree Town 2
Shots off target: Alfreton Town 4, Braintree Town 8
Corners: Alfreton Town 2, Braintree Town 10
Free kicks: Alfreton Town 8, Braintree Town 10
Offside: Alfreton Town 3, Braintree Town 3
Man of the Match: Bradley Wood
Referee: Richard Wigglesworth of Doncaster