Nuneaton Town 3
Alfreton Town 0
It was a very disappointing trip to Warwickshire on Tuesday night as Alfreton slipped to a hefty defeat and relinquished their hard-earned play-off spot to victors Nuneaton Town.
There will of course be a swift opportunity to make amends when the two teams meet again on Saturday in the first round of the FA Trophy at the lmpact Arena, but the Reds failed to inspire in their Skrill Premier encounter.
Chris Westwood glanced a header wide from a third minute Josh Law free-kick as Alfreton began brightly enough, but Reds keeper Ross Atkins was soon having to tip over a stinging volley from Phil Trainer following Louis Moult’s by-line cross.
Job Ayo Akinde ran menacingly on to a Lathaniel Rowe-Turner through-ball in the 11th minute, but Gareth Dean was able to scramble the ball behind, then Trainer set David Hibbert up at the other end with Westwood blocking.
A by-line forage by Akinde on 15 minutes from a Bradley Wood pass led to a Law corner that saw Nick Fenton head over, then seven minutes later another cracking save by Atkins denied Moult from a Hibbert cross.
Nuneaton took a 27th minute lead when Danny Sleath’s cross from the left was headed back across goal by Adam Walker before entering the net off the foot of the upright with James Armson on hand to make sure if necessary.
Yet another rousing save was required by Atkins as Trainer hammered Armson’s cross towards the target on 37 minutes, then three minutes before the break the home side were two up when Hibbert cut in from the left before firing low past Atkins from 18 yards.
The half ended with another Westwood header drifting wide from a Law corner, then nine minutes after the restart Akinde fired wide from a Dan Bradley cross.
Paul Clayton had been on the field just five minutes when he injected some hope when his shot glanced off the near post after Akinde had laid off a John McGrath through-ball, then Fenton’s header was hacked off the line by Sleath following another Law corner.
In contrast to Kelle Roos in the home goal, who was not required to make one single telling save all night, Atkins emerged as the hero again in the 71st minute when he acrobatically parried an angled drive by Sleath.
However even he was powerless to prevent Wes York from scoring Nuneaton’s third goal from 12 yards in the 88th minute as Alfreton equalled their heaviest defeat of the season.