Priestley brace sends Alfreton Town through in FA Cup

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A brace of first half goals from Adam Priestley eased Alfreton Town through in their FA Cup second qualifying round tie at King’s Lynn on Saturday.

Manager Nicky Law does not have a very large squad to pick his team from at the moment and adopted to keep the same starting line-up that had surrendered a three-goal lead against Kidderminster Harriers in the previous Saturday’s 3-3 draw.

Priestley’s opener in the 17th minute stemmed from a Craig Westcarr corner that saw home keeper Alex Street partially clear Todd Jordan’s back post effort, Ryan Wilson crossing the loose ball from the right for Priestley to sublimely steer the ball home from close range with his chest.

Priestley was then on hand six minutes before the break to stick out a leg and turn in another Wilson cross from six yards, after the midfielder had embarked on a run down the right.

The hosts had started brightly with Eoin McQuaid winning a fourth minute corner that led to Matthew Castellan heading over, then Jacek Zielonka and Toby Hilliard wasted chances for the West Norfolk side.

Just before breaking the deadlock Priestley won the first of two successive corners, the latter of which needed punching clear under pressure by Street, but by the 21st minute it was Reds’ keeper Fabian Spiess who somehow kept out a Danny Emmington header from a Michael Clunan free-kick.

Priestley almost profited from an awful back header by Emmington on 29 minutes, then at the other end Spiess dealt with an awkward cross from Zielonka before racing out to block as McQuaid played Hilliard through.

Moments before scoring the second goal Priestley was just beaten to Wilson’s through-ball by Street’s header on the edge of his area, King’s Lynn going into the half-time break regretting their lack of accuracy in front of goal.

Alfreton were content to soak up the pressure from their Southern Premier League opponents after the interval, scarcely venturing forward themselves bar a couple of good moves initiated by Andy Monkhouse and latterly Sam Ottley, the highlight of the second half being a fantastic save by Spiess from a well-struck Clunan free-kick on the hour.

Frustration grew among the home supporters as Zielonka and Hilliard all failed to aim anywhere near the target when finding themselves in good positions, Zielonka eventually testing Spiess after a strong central run and finally Hilliard having a 90th minute “goal” disallowed for off-side.

It may not have been the most memorable Red’s performance of the season, but the win heralded a third consecutive unbeaten game, a fourth clean sheet and the small matter of £7500 prize money as the F.A.Cup itself gleamed magnificently on display in the King’s Lynn clubhouse.

KING’S LYNN: Street; Emmington [Fryatt 87], Yong, Gaughran, Quigley, Castellan, M.Clunan, McQuaid, Zielonka, Edge, Hilliard.

SUBS NOT USED: A.Clunan, Frowhawk, Shipp, Pearson.

ALFRETON: Spiess; Mantack, McGowan, Kennedy, Heaton, Jordan, Allan, Monkhouse, Wilson (Ottley 62), Westcarr (Smith 79), Priestley (Clayton 79).

SUBS NOT USED: Hearn.

REFEREE: Daniel Middleton.

ATTENDANCE: 847.