11 February 2014
Dave Pursglove's match picture album here
Alfreton Town pulled off their most impressive result of the season at second placed Cambridge United on Tuesday night to send shock waves through the Skrill Premier's upper echelon.
It was not a particularly great match but a huge win with Bradley Wood's 25th minute goal separating the teams as Alfreton recorded their third win from four visits to the Abbey Stadium.
Manager Nicky Law reverted to a familiar 4-4-2 formation with Shaun Harrad available after missing the Salisbury trip, while Tom Shaw returned to the bench, but it still needed a solid defensive performance to restrict United to a handful of chances.
The goal was set up by Godfrey Poku, whose rasping drive from 20 yards cannoned off Job Ayo Akinde to leave Wood with a reasonably simple conversion at the back post, the only previous chance for the Reds having seen Harrad have a shot from 18 yards eight minutes earlier saved by keeper Will Norris.
Former Alfreton triallist Matthew Barnes-Homer chipped the ball on to the roof of Jon Worsnop's net in the seventh minute, with the Reds' keeper comfortably holding a low drive from Tom Elliott three minutes later.
Worsnop then saved Liam Hughes' powerful header just after the goal, before producing a point-blank save to deny Luke Berry after being played through by Elliott in the 33rd minute.
Five minutes into the second half Wood's deep free-kick almost lured Greg Taylor into slicing the ball past his own keeper, but he escaped with a corner, then within three minutes at the other end Cambridge squandered their clearest chance of the game when Barnes-Homer blazed wide from six yards from a right-wing corner.
Then on 57 minutes Akinde was suddenly presented with a clear opening after United skipper Ian Miller misjudged Wood's through-ball before sprawling injured inside the area, but the striker obviously had not realised just how much time and space he had and his snatched shot was gathered by Norris.
Alfreton were forced on to the back foot as Cambridge pressed incessantly, but there was no cutting edge to their attacks and the Reds' defence was able to cope adequately.
Akinde was withdrawn ten minutes from time with Daniel Meadows joining midfield as the formation was changed to 4-5-1 in an effort to close out the game, then Ryan Bird became the latest Cambridge player to waste an opportunity when the substitute turned six yards out to fire tamely at Worsnop.
Four minutes from time Poku was pole-axed by the strength of Berry's shot, but was still able to block the follow-up from former Alfreton player Nathan Arnold, despite still being grounded.
In added time Meadows set up Dan Bradley, who missed the target, then at the other end Meadows significantly blocked a sharp effort from Elliott before Arnold flashed the home side's final chance wide.
Injury concerns surrounded Chris Westwood and Michael Wylde, who were both forced to leave the action, whilst Josh Law and Connor Franklin both left the field at the end rather cautiously after taking knocks.
Alfreton Town Team:
15 Jon Worsnop
16 Nick Fenton
02 Bradley Wood
10 Dan Bradley
04 Chris Westwood (08 Tom Shaw, 37 mins)
03 Connor Franklin
07 Josh Law
05 Michael Wylde (06 Darran Kempson, 74 mins)
23 Godfrey Poku
18 Job Ayo Akinde (12 Daniel Meadows, 80 mins)
24 Shaun Harrad
Substitutes not used:
09 Paul Clayton
20 Jay McFadzean
Cambridge United Team:
13 Will Norris
06 Ian Miller (29 Josh Gillies, 60 mins)
03 Greg Taylor
02 Kevin Roberts
04 Josh Coulson
11 Harrison Dunk
08 Tom Champion
18 Luke Berry
39 Matthew Barnes-Homer (25 Ryan Bird, 55 mins)
17 Liam Hughes (24 Nathan Arnold, 53 mins)
10 Tom Elliott
Substitutes not used:
01 John Sullivan
27 Bobby-Joe Taylor
Goal: Bradley Wood (Alfreton Town) 25 minutes
Bookings: Alfreton Town - Jon Worsnop, Nick Fenton, Godfrey Poku
Attendance breakdown: 2,106 including 31 from Alfreton
Man of the Match: Nick Fenton
Referee: Nicholas Kinseley of Wickford