Three down and three to go
11 April 2013
With everything to play for in the pack just above the relegation zone at North Street against Nicky Law's Alfreton Town Dale Belford was forced to make just one change to the side that defeated Forest Green Rovers at the weekend, with Daune Courtney starting the first of a two match suspension. Lloyd Kerry made a return to the side after going off at Newport in early February.
The home side got the game underway, kicking towards the away end, where the travelling fans braved the cold and wet. Clayton headed just wide of the mark from a deep freekick inside the second minute and Breeden was forced to make a good low stop from Soares' considered shot on 4.
The home side had the majority of the play in the opening ten minutes without threatening too much, and won a corner on 12 which Law took and Breeden gathered at height.
The Lambs got their first real sight at goal on 14 when a foul on the edge of the area set up Cunnington from 20 yards but he wasted the freekick and put it into the seats behind the goal.
A clumsy challenge by Thorpe on Clayton on 19 earned The Lambs defender a booking and set up Bradley with a spot kick which he duly rolled into the bottom left corner, sending Breeden the wrong way, to give Alfreton the lead (0-1, 20 mins)
On 22 Bradley found Meadows with a incisive pass and Meadows struck for goal, but Breeden was equal to the low shot and it rebounded kindly for the keeper as two Alfreton players chasing it down were unable to get a touch.
A Lambs corner was forthcoming on 25 and Lee Hendrie passed it short to Kelly but Alfreton broke and Arnold unleashed a drive from 25 yards forcing Breeden to tip it over the bar for a flag kick at the other end which didn't trouble the keeper too much.
A 50/50 handball by Tait on the edge of the area on 28 set up Alfreton with a freekick and after the referee had sorted out the four man Tamworth wall the chance went begging as the shot went high over the bar.
It was 2-0 to the home side on 32 when Clayton finished from close range after Bradley and Meadows had combined and the latters ball forced Breeden to save but not smother the shot completely allowing Clayton to nip in and finish from a yard out (0-2, 32 mins)
As the final five minutes of the half came into view, The Lambs continued to struggle to get anywhere near the final third except from long balls or freekicks as the home side worked hard up hill.
A freekick was forthcoming on 41 and Kelly lined it up but Alfreton defended strongly to clear the danger.
Another freekick was awarded for a foul on Kelly on 42 and from 35 yards out in a central position keeper Pickford gathered under a challenge from Cunnington.
Three minutes added time were shown at the end of the first half and from a deep Kelly freekick the ball rebounded to Stuart Hendrie, but his half volley, under pressure, went wide of the right hand post and the whistle blew for half time.
Stuart Hendrie was replaced by Till at the break and The Lambs kicked off the second half and kept the home side penned into their own half for the majority of the first five minutes, but without really threatening Pickford's goal.
In the first real attack of the second half by Alfreton Arnold burst across the back fpur and struck a right footed shot over the target, but it was a little too easy for the home side who had created nothing prior to the chance.
Marshall needed a minute or so to recover from a clash in the centre of the park around 55 and on the hour, Cunnington struck a shot from the left of the area but it was always going wide of the mark.
On 63 the home side extended their lead when Pickford long kick was latched onto by Arnold and he controlled it on the edge of the box and chipped it over Breeden to make it 3-0.
Wright almost headed a goal back or The Lambs on 67 but Rose rose high to nod the goal bound chance over and out for a corner which whipped across the box but came to nothing and Harrop came on for Lee Hendrie.
Cunnington's strike from the left of the area on 71 rebounded of Pickford and was quickly cleared by the home defence.
Thorpe was adjudged to have fouled 25 yards from goal on 74 and Meadpows lined up the deadball only to see Wylde trap and clear his driven effort.
On 78 Harrop was adjudged to have handled a corner from the left and so Bradley stepped up again but this time Breeden saved the spot kick and The Lambs broke to the other end and Marshal struck a shot at goal from the left of the box, but it deflected away to safety despite efforts of the travelling faithful to suck it into the goalmouth.
Byfield managed to get a shot away on 87 but it rolled past the right hand post from the edge of the area and as three minutes added time was shown Kerry picked up a booking for a challenge on Rose in the centre circle before the game ended.
Tony BREEDEN (GK), Richard TAIT, Marcus KELLY, Michael WYLDE, Tom MARSHALL, Adam CUNNINGTON (Darren BYFIELD 82), Lee HENDRIE (Max HARROP 69), Tommy WRIGHT, Tommy WRIGHT (c.), Stuart HENDRIE (Peter TILL HT), Jonathan THORPE
Subs: Sam OJI, Liam MITCHELL (GK)
Alfreton Town Team:
Jordan PICKFORD, Josh LAW, Darren KEMPSON, Louie SOUARES (Ben TOMLINSON 68), Paul CLAYTON (Alastair TAYLOR 90), Dan BRADLEY, Nathan ARNOLD, Daniel MEADOWS, Jordan ROSE, Theo STREETE, Steven HEWIT
Subs: (Three only) Phil BARNES
Referee: Mr. R. Whitton