Blue Square Bet North
Alfreton Town 2
Solihull Moors 0
Solihull Moors, the in-form team of the Blue Square Bet North with an uneaten run of 18 games and the last six of those all victories, arrived at the Impact Arena on Monday night with high expectations.
However, Alfreton Town turned in a solid performance to comfortably win 2-0 with both goals coming from full-back Josh Law, who has now doubled his tally for the campaign.
With so many matches to play in such a short time manager Nicky Law again shuffled the pack with four changes being made from the Hyde draw, but such is the strength of the current squad that the Reds quickly asserted despite kicking downhill in the first half for only the third time this season.
Moors were first to go close though with Charlie O’Loughlin’s third minute header from a Ryan Beswick corner, then a sharp cross from Beswick was cleared by Law before Phil Midworth fired wide from Joe Clarke’s lay-off.
However pressure from Alfreton led to an 18th minute opener when Nathan Arnold did particularly well to keep a through-ball from Laurie Wilson in play, and his by-line cross was headed in from six yards by Law.
Arnold shot wide after Paul Clayton had laid the ball inside to Anthony Wilson, then with 27 minutes elapsed a Laurie Wilson corner triggered an amazing sequence as Alfreton desperately tried to double their advantage.
Anthony Howell was first to try his luck but his effort was repelled by keeper Jasbir Singh then Clayton stabbed the rebound towards goal only to be thwarted by O’Loughlin, and finally Aden Flint looked certain to score but somehow Singh recovered to turn the ball behind for a less eventful corner.
Nine minutes later a flag-kick from Law was worked back to him on the right, but he was denied a potential hat-trick when his goalbound shot rebounded innocuously off Clayton.
Solihull were only allowed one further attack in the first half with Dominic Langdon flashing a header wide from a 39th minute corner, then in added time Flint’s overhead kick missed the target from eight yards from a Law free-kick.
Just 75 seconds after the break Alfreton were awarded a penalty when Singh brought down Clayton from Anthony Wilson’s sublime pass, but to everybody’s amazement the keeper received only a yellow card for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
Law despatched the spot-kick with accuracy when it was eventually taken in the 48th minute, beating the keeper low to his right as confidence oozed through the Alfreton ranks.
Solihull rallied briefly when Beswick’s free-kick led to Clarke’s stifled shot and Junior English’s shinned follow-up drifting wide, then Simon Johson’s overhead kick in the 60th minute turned out to be the visitors’ only shot on target which Chris Mackenzie saved comfortably.
The biggest miss of the night came 20 minutes from time when Connor Franklin’s forceful header played Clayton through only for the striker to drag his shot wide from eight yards with only the keeper to beat, English having played him onside whilst laying injured.
Matt Wilson thumped a 22 yarder over the bar on 82 minutes, then with three minutes to go an unpleasant incident incensed the Alfreton contingent when Flint appeared to be elbowed by Matty Smith.
Referee Ricky Wootton brandished only a yellow card, and as a groggy Flint was assisted off the pitch it was all too much for reserve keeper Ross Turner who aired his grievance to the official and, despite not even being on the team sheet, was dismissed from the dug out.
Alfreton Town: Mackenzie, Law, Franklin, Flint, Streete, L Wilson, Howell, M Wilson, Clayton, A Wilson (Brown 90+4), Arnold. Subs not used: Jarman, Ross,Clare, Moult.
The Reds are back in action on Wednesday night when they travel to take on Corby Town. Transport departs at 5pm.