Hyde 1 Alfreton Town 2
Alfreton Town overcame a stubborn obstacle in basement club Hyde on Saturday to force their way into a play-off spot in the Skrill Premier.
Hyde have only accrued three points in a torrid season so far but gave a good account of themselves, and after taking a 66th minute lead almost snatched a last gasp equaliser when Reds’ keeper Ross Atkins had to tip over an Adam Griffin free-kick at full stretch.
Atkins had needed to be alert just 60 seconds into the game when fielding a low Scott Spencer free-kick, then in Alfreton’s first attack in the 13th minute home keeper Lawrence Vigouroux just beat Job Ayo Akinde to Tom Shaw’s through-ball to hack clear.
Adam Blakeman fired wide from some distance for the hosts, then Akinde’s shot was blocked by a posse of defenders after a neat turn on the edge of the area from another Shaw pass. A similar effort by the striker on 35 minutes was diverted behind by Luke Ashworth.
Vigouroux flapped at Josh Law’s 37th minute corner, with Shaw’s follow-up blocked by Ashworth, then Vigouroux held a low drive from Dan Bradley from 25 yards.
Bradley played Akinde through two minutes before the interval with the keeper holding his low drive, then there was a brilliant save by Vigouroux from Akinde again after Bradley Wood’s cross had been controlled by his chest.
John McGrath fired over in the 48th minute, Akinde stretched in vain to convert a deep Wood cross four minutes later and Chris Westwood’s header drifted past the back post from a Law corner as Alfreton began the second-half in determined fashion.
However it was Atkins tipping over an angled drive from Spencer in the 62nd minute that signalled the first real sign that Hyde had much more to offer than their lowly status might imply, and four minutes later a cross from far right by Louis Almond picked out Spencer to slot the ball into the far corner of the net from 12 yards.
Another Westwood header from a Law free-kick was turned behind by Vigouroux in the 72nd minute, but two minutes later the Reds were level when a Law corner fell for Bradley to lash home from eight yards.
Four minutes further on and it was third time lucky for persistent skipper Westwood, whose firm header from six yards from yet another accurate Law corner whistled into the back of the net to everyone’s obvious relief.
Spencer fired over for Hyde but Law should have made the issue safe as the game entered added time, firing meekly at Vigouroux after a weaving run.
Atkins then needed to save an effort from Danny Carlton before decisively thwarting Griffin right at the end.