09 January 2016
Match picture album courtesy of Dave Pursglove, John Maund and Sam Parsons here
Alfreton Town completely turned this game on its head after a lack-lustre first half performance to register their biggest away win of the season at Brackley Town on Saturday.
A heavy pitch had only been passed as playable a couple of hours before kick-off, but held up for 90 minutes despite continuous rain, and it appeared that the home side had adapted to the conditions much better than Alfreton by taking a 25th minute lead through Steve Diggin, who also had a goal ruled out for offside.
There were two changes made from the Tamworth victory seven days earlier, Sam Jones returning after illness to displace Ryan Wilson, whilst Todd Jordan replaced injured central defender Niall Heaton.
There were two crucial saves by Matt Duke in the early stages, denying Tom Winters and Ryan Austin as Alfreton struggled to emerge from their own half, the Reds only testing home keeper Sam Hornby with a 14th minute Andi Thanoj free-kick after Aidan Hawtin had been booked for holding back Lindon Meikle as he approached the area.
Manager Nicky Law will not have been too pleased about the manner that Diggin was allowed to score though, lobbing the ball over Duke from 25 yards after being set up by Glenn Walker despite several attempts to break down the earlier stages of the move.
The second half heralded a complete change of fortunes for Alfreton, with Dan Bradley's 48th minute driven cross from the right almost luring Stephan Morley into slicing the ball into his own net before Thanoj fired over from the same supplier moments later.
The equaliser came in the 53rd minute when Meikle embarked on a mesmerising run down the right before delivering the perfect cross for Jones to fire hard and low into the net from eight yards, the pace of the shot taking no account of Hornby's touch.
Just four minutes later and the Reds were 2-1 ahead after Brackley substiute defender Eddie Odhiambo had clumsily brought down Bradley in full flight and a penalty was awarded.
Hornby guessed correctly and parried Bradley's spot-kick, but unfortunately for the keeper the ball rebounded back into the Alfreton skipper's path and Bradley was not going to miss an open goal from two yards.
A pivotal moment occurred in the 64th minute that completely knocked the stuffing out of Brackley, Austin lashing out at Sam Smith with both players on the ground after the latter had played Bradley through, the referee brandishing a straight red.
Alfreton have a history of not playing particularly well against reduced opposition, but on this occasion were not going to risk conceding their advantage, the third goal arriving in the 74th minute from another positive move.
Once again it was a Bradley cross that set up the chance, the ball only cleared as far as substitute Ryan Wilson who curled the ball into the net from 16 yards, and Reds' fans only had to wait a further 80 seconds for the fourth goal.
Yet again Bradley found space on the right to home in on goal and unleash an angled drive that Eddie Odhiambo could only slice into his own net, the shot though probably on target and should be credited to Bradley.
Alfreton Town Team:
02 Cliff Moyo
03 Brad McGowan
04 Todd Jordan
05 Tom Allan
06 Joe Leesley
07 Andi Thanoj (Ryan Wilson, 72 mins)
08 Sam Jones (Jamie Jackson, 88 mins)
09 Dan Bradley
10 Lindon Meikle
11 Sam Smith (Jordan Robertson, 78 mins)
Substitutes not used:
Brackley Town Team:
01 Sam Hornby
02 Aidan Hawtin (Eddie Odhiambo h/t)
03 Stephan Morley
04 Matty Lowe
05 Ryan Austin
06 Pablo Mills
07 Tom Winters (Luke Graham, 75 mins)
08 Glenn Walker
09 David Moyo
10 Steve Diggin
11 Richard Batchelor
Brackley Town - Steve Diggin (25)
Alfreton Town - Sam Jones (53), Dan Bradley (57), Ryan Wilson (77), Eddie Odhiambo (78, own goal)
Brackley Town - Aidan Hawtin (14, foul on Lindon Meikle)
Alfreton Town - Andi Thanoj (18, foul on Aidan Hawtin)
Brackley Town - Ryan Austin (63 mins, violent conduct)
Man of the Match: Dan Bradley
Referee: Chris O'Donnell of Leighton Buzzard