Season 16/17 Review: August

Season 16/17 Review: August

Tuesday May 30, 2017

Alfreton Town began the 2016/17 National League North season at Edgeley Park home of Stockport County just as they had done 4 years prior in 2012/13, with a Danny Hattersley strike was all that separated the sides on that occasion.

Indeed Alfreton had yet to open their account on the Edgeley Park turf having not found the net in any of their previous visits so a stern test awaited the Reds. The Reds soon found themselves two goals behind within the opening quarter hour as the dangerous Danny Lloyd proved a real handful. The Reds did get themselves back in to the game just before half time when Paul Clayton stylishly converted to open his and the Alfreton`s account for the campaign after a swift counter attack.

However that proved short lived as the hosts regained their two goal cushion before the break. The Reds started the second half the better side though and pulled themselves back to all square at 3 -3 after a clever finish from Tom Allan and a goal of the season contender from Dan Bradley. Alfreton had renewed hope of extending an impressive away run which had seen them not taste away defeat since December 2015 at Lowestoft Town, a run of 14 matches. But cruel stoppage winner from Gary Stopworth dashed Reds hopes though as the they came out the wrong side of a pulsating 7 goal thriller.

Three days later the Reds began their home campaign as they welcomed Gainsborough Trinity to the Impact Arena. Alfreton flew out of the blocks as Andy Monkhouse`s first goal for club was swiftly followed by a brace from Dan Bradley as Gainsborough were swatted away with ease. The 4-0 rout was completed by Sam Smith who had come off the bench moments earlier.

The Reds were eager to continue from where they left off against Gainsborough a few days later when Curzon Ashton provided the opposition at the Impact Arena. It was not to be though as the Reds were denied by the woodwork on 3 separate occasions as Connor Hampson`s first half header settled the issue. The season continued in earnest as the Reds headed to Northamptonshire to face Brackley Town where some real back to the wall defending secured the Reds a first away day success of the season thanks to Goals from Dan Bradley, Craig Westcarr and Tom Allan as Alfreton were 3-2 victors.

Next up the Reds welcomed promotion favourites AFC Fylde to Derbyshire. The Reds went toe to toe with the visitors after heading into the break ahead 3-2, after strikes from Ryan Wilson and Craig Westcarr and a Dan Bradley penalty. Danny Rowe`s haul of 4 goals proved to be the difference between the sides however as the Coasters won a frenetic encounter 5-3.

The August schedule continued as the Reds made the long journey to Bishop Auckland to face Darlington who were ground sharing at the time. The Reds produced arguably one of their best away performances of the season as some clinical finishing on the counter opened up a 4-1 lead midway through the second half. Liam Hearn scored twice, his first goals since returning to the club for a second spell while Westcarr and Monkhouse both confidently finished flowing moves. Much like their previous away trip at Brackley the Reds had to survive intense pressure but some heroic defending and wayward shooting enabled the Reds to end another pulsating encounter 4-3 winners.

August Bank Holiday Monday saw the visit of Tamworth to the Impact Arena. Once more another action packed afternoon ensued but this time the Reds came out on the wrong end of a 5-2 score line. Indeed the Reds did lead the contest 2-1 after 2 goals in 3 second minutes from Andy Monkhouse and Dan Bradley. However a Reds collapse saw the visitors run riot and travel back to Staffordshire with all three points.

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