Blue Square Bet Premier Division
Alfreton Town 2
Grimsby Town 5
ALFRETON Town lost 5-2 to Grimsby Town for the second time this season when they recorded their biggest home League gate for 48 years.
Saturday’s crowd at the Impact Arena had been bettered by 276 when Matlock Town won 4-3 in a Midland League game in October 1963, although several bigger attendances have occurred since in Cup and Play-off ties.
The game itself saw Alfreton battling hard against a well-organised outfit, spearheaded by Liam Hearn who scored a brace on his return without choosing to celebrate as a mark of respect to his former club.
Nathan Arnold saw his low drive held in the first minute by Grimsby keeper James McKeown after taking a return pass from Anthony Wilson, then at the other end moments later Frankie Artus wasted a very good chance when he fired over after being set up by Craig Disley.
Nathan Jarman then saw a shot held from Theo Streete’s pass, but the visitors took an 11th minute lead through Hearn’s angled deflected shot from the edge of the penalty area that entered the net at the foot of Joe Day’s near post.
Anthony Elding raced menacingly through from Michael Coulson’s 14th minute through-ball only to fire straight at the Reds’ keeper, then Coulson set up Artus for a clear shot at goal but he was off balance and could not summon up enough power to beat Day.
Coulson’s angled drive was turned behind by Jake Moult in the 24th minute and in response Wilson fired over from 18 yards from Moult’s pass, but Grimsby were two goals ahead by the 29th minute.
Hearn was instrumental with another low drive that struck Coulson and diverted in to the net, but Alfreton refused to lie down and Arnold’s stab at Anton Brown’s cross was held by McKeown.
The Reds were rewarded by a goal on 33 minutes when Arnold turned to steer past McKeown from 12 yards after Wilson had headed the ball down to him, then four minutes later Gary Silk had to be alert to clear off the line after his keeper had fumbled a Josh Law cross under pressure from Brown.
Hearn was sent clear by Andi Thanoj five minutes before the interval to put the visitors 3-1 ahead with a trademark finish, before embarking on a solo run only to shoot wide.
The first half ended with Wilson’s angled drive from Law’s pass being held by McKeown, but there was a massive blow for Alfreton during the break when it emerged that Day was forced to withdraw with a groin injury.
With no substitute keeper nominated, it befell skipper Greg Young to don the green jersey, with Matt Wilson taking over in the heart of the defence.
A 47th minute Law corner again saw McKeown fumble the ball with Scott Garner hacking off the line, than Arnold headed over from a Jarman cross.
Anthony Wilson found the side-netting from an Arnold cross in the 52nd minute, then Young passed his first test in goal by coming off his line to block from Coulson.
Brown’s 60th minute header led to Arnold seeing a shot blocked, but Alfreton fell further behind 60 seconds later when Young could only parry a Coulson corner straight to Elding, whose shot was blocked before Garner followed up to stab home from inside the six yard area.
Jarman’s 67th minute volley was held from a Jamie Mullan cross, then McKeown made a good save from Paul Clayton’s close range header following a Moult free-kick.
Matt Wilson headed home Moult’s 73rd minute corner at the back post for a Reds’ consolation goal, then Wilson had to tackle back hastily as Hearn shaped to shoot.
A curling cross from Jarman in the 79th minute almost reduced the gap further, but McKeown spotted the danger and clawed the ball away from under the angle of crossbar and upright.
In the end a rather flattering scoreline for Grimsby was completed in the 90th minute when Rob Duffy’s persistence allowed the substitute to rob Adam Quinn and steer the ball across Young and in off the far post from 12 yards.
The bonus of the day was the fact all of Alfreton’s relegation rivals also lost.
Alfreton Town: Day (M Wilson, h/t), Streete, Quinn, Young, Franklin, Law (Mullan 64), Moult, Brown, Arnold, A Wilson (Clayton 66), Jarman. Substitutes not used: Franks, Hall.
Grimsby Town: Keown, Silk, Garner, Miller, Townsend, Coulson, Disley, Thanoj, Artus, Hearn (Hughes-Mason 90+2), Elding (Duffy 74).
Substitutes not used: Pearson, Makofo, McCarthy. Referee: Mr Michael Bull of Chelmsford
Attendance: 1924 (including 1,026 from Grimsby Town)
Reds man of the match: Adam Quinn