It may not have been a classic but there was plenty for the additional fans, enticed to the lmpact Arena by reduced admission prices on Saturday, to enthuse over as Alfreton Town overcame a strong Braintree Town side to win 3-1.
Initially there was disappointment in discovering that Jake Speight had been recalled by Mansfield Town after scoring five goals in six games for the Reds, but when Daniel Meadows was asked to play up front alongside Job Ayo Akinde the midfielder looked comfortable in the role and had a hand in all three goals.
Then moments before the kick-off skipper and central defender Nick Fenton pulled up injured and had to be hurriedly replaced by Michael Wylde.
Despite the loss of two key players, the Reds’ highest home gate of the season was treated to a workmanlike performance that fully merited maximum points.
Alfreton’s first attack of note came in the 15th minute and produced the opening goal in some style, with Dan Bradley’s pass being helped on to Wood by Meadows before Akinde stabbed the ball low past keeper Nik Hamaan from six yards.
Akinde forced his way through in the 35th minute before firing wide, then Law’s snapshot from 12 yards was held by Hamaan before Alfreton’s second goal in the 42nd minute which stemmed from a deep Wylde free-kick.
Meadows was again in the thick of things, teeing up Shaw to rifle home from eight yards. As half-time approached Atkins needed to be vigilant in tipping over a well-struck free-kick by Chez Isaacs.
Just two minutes into the second half a huge slice of luck gifted Braintree their goal when Daley’s cross from the right was not dealt with and rebounded tamely into the net off the back post.
Law jinked his way into the area on 65 minutes from Akinde’s pass before seeing his shot saved by Hamaan, but soon made amends by heading home Wood’s cross from close range after Meadows’s delivery from the left had appeared to be too deep from John McGrath’s through-ball.