Alfreton impress in 3-2 away victory

The list of former Football League clubs that Alfreton Town have beaten away from home since joining the Conference reached double figures at Aldershot Town on Saturday with an entertaining 3-2 victory.

Manager Nicky Law had the luxury of recalled defenders Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Chris Westwood and Michael Wylde, but he could still only muster four substitutes as his small squad remained stretched.

All three shrugged off their problems to make an important contribution to the Reds’ win in Hampshire, the goals coming from midfielders Tom Shaw and Josh Law while Jake Speight opened his account with the winner.

The lively affair began with Rowe-Turner having to block Lewis Young’s shot from a slick Brett Williams pass, then home keeper Nick Pope had to race out of goal to deny Job Ayo Akinde before Wylde’s overhead kick looped over the bar.

Law was at the heart of the opening goal after Jake Goodman had been booked for a cynical foul that had stopped John Akinde in his tracks, his 23rd minute free-kick charged down before Law delivered the ball to the far post where a Westwood header cleared the path for Shaw to become joint top-scorer with a shot from ten yards.

The lead was short-lived though because five minutes later Aldershot were level when Jaydon Gibbs beat the offside trap to run on to Molesley’s through-ball and thump the ball past Ross Atkins. Alfreton’s vocal fans did not have to wait long for their team to be ahead again as Law struck from six yards after Bradley Wood’s long throw in the 31st minute had caused confusion in the Aldershot box.

Aldershot were back on level terms after Young’s goalbound free-kick had deflected off the wall for a corner, from which Young was left unmarked to feed Williams who picked his spot from eight yards.

Williams cut in from the left and fired over as the Shots stepped up a gear, but the turning point came in the 52nd minute when Gibbs failed to connect with Williams’s cross in front of an open goal.

The home side became agitated and frustrated after Atkins had brilliantly parried an angled drive from Barker before holding Oastler’s low drive, because Alfreton led again by the 56th minute when Akinde burst through to cross for Speight to fire home from close range at the far post. Stanley and Jordan Roberts were each denied by routine saves from Atkins.

But there was no longer the fluency and menace about Aldershot’s play.

The final 15 minutes of the game focused around Kinder’s repeated advances into home territory, Shaw sending him to the by-line with a precision pass although Akinde shot into the side-netting instead of repeating his previous successful cross with Speight again lurking at the back post.

Akinde dealt better with Daniel Meadows’s 79th minute through-ball, this time picking out Law in the centre of goal, but the recipient could only gain the faintest of touches from the driven cross.

Akinde then burst through again to terrorise Aldershot’s young central defenders with seven minutes remaining on the clock, this time on the left, but Speight could not make contact despite maximum effort.

Finally, at the end of a lengthy stretch of added time in which Alfreton had successfully soaked up all of Aldershot’s efforts before they could materialise, Akinde muscled through again only for Pope to hack clear.