Blue Square Bet North
Alfreton Town 4
Gloucester City 0
It was a very good Tuesday night for Alfreton Town as they demolished Gloucester City at the Impact Arena while all their Blue Square Bet North rivals dropped points, allowing the Reds to reclaim second spot seven points behind Nuneaton Town with a massive eight games in hand.
Three strikers provided the goals, with Daryl Clare marking his debut with the opener and Liam Hearn stretching his season’s tally to 17 with a brace, and although the latter failed to complete a hat-trick his replacement Anthony Wilson completed the scoring.
Anton Brown sent Liam Hearn through in the fourth minute but his route was blocked by Tom Parrinello, then at the other end eight minutes later a low drive by Mike Symons was comfortably held by Chris Mackenzie.
Alfreton took a 16th minute lead when a deep cross from Ian Ross was untidily forced home at the near post by Clare, with visiting keeper Kev Sawyer only able to palm the ball against the upright on its way into the net.
Just 90 seconds later the Reds were 2-0 ahead when Theo Streete released Hearn on a trademark run with the striker slipping the ball past Sawyer from 12 yards.
Gloucester produced a chance in the 22nd minute when Mackenzie saved a half-hearted effort from Darren Mullings, but Alfreton went closer three minutes later with Connor Franklin’s rising drive after a good move initiated by Brown and continued by Anthony Howell.
Clare headed wide under pressure from a by-line cross by Ross then Sawyer had to deal with an angled drive from Ross, but City were thrown a lifeline in the 34th minute with a generous refereeing decision as Scott Garner was ruled to have impeded Symons.
Mullings took the penalty kick but for the second successive game Mackenzie anticipated well and parried, and as the six-yard box suddenly became very congested Mullings’ follow-up was diverted for a corner.
Another promising move by the hosts six minutes prior to the break saw Howell fire inches over from 22 yards after Hearn’s shot had been blocked from Brown’s cross.
A rasping, curling drive from the far edge of the area by Hearn was well held by Sawyer four minutes after the resumption, then a low drive by Ross was blocked by the keeper with Mike Tambling throwing himself in front of Matt Wilson’s follow-up.
A rare sortie by Gloucester caused a moment of panic in the 59th minute as Mackenzie failed to hold Darren Edwards’ shot after taking a return pass from Symons, but Franklin was on hand to clear.
The third goal came on 65 minutes when Hearn glanced home a header from six yards in receipt of Josh Law’s deep cross, with the keeper again only able to help the ball on its way.
Full of confidence Hearn produced another ,curling shot in the 70th minute that seemed destined to find the far corner of the net until a superb stretching save by Sawyer denied him his treble, then seconds later Franklin sent Hearn away down the left but his unselfish cross to Clare was intercepted by Tyler Weir.
With virtually his first touch sub Anthony Wilson glanced his header wide from a Franklin free-kick, but three minutes from time Wilson grabbed the fourth goal in style when he turned and slotted past Sawyer from eight yards after Howell had chested the ball down to him
A late move involved all three substitutes as Paul Clayton and Wilson combined to send Nathan Arnold to the by-line, and his fizzing angled drive just missed both Clayton and the crossbar.
Alfreton Town: Chris Mackenzie, Josh Law, Connor Franklin, Theo Streete (c), Scott Garner, Matt Wilson, Ian Ross, Anton Brown (Nathan Arnold 81), Daryl Clare (Paul Clayton 75), Liam Hearn (Ant Wilson 75), Anthony Howell.
Substitutes not used: Jake Moult, Laurie Wilson.
Gloucester City: Kev Sawyer, Neil Mustoe, Tom Parrinello (Adam Mann 65), Matt Coupe, Matt Rose, Mike Tambling (Sam Malsom 56), Darren Mullings, Tom Webb (c), Darren Edwards (Will Morford 73), 1Mike Symons, Tyler Weir.
Substitute not used: Dave Mehew.
Referee: Mr Duncan Street of Normanton
Attendance: 418. Half-time: 2-0.
Goals: Alfreton Town - Daryl Clare 16, Liam Hearn 18 & 65, Ant Wilson 87.
Reds man of the match: Liam Hearn.