Alfreton Town’s below-par performance on Saturday saw them fail to register a goal for the first time in 16 games as they were beaten 1-0 by FC United in front of their biggest home gate of the season.
FC United of Manchester were visiting the lmpact Arena for the first time and contributed 42 per cent of the gate, comfortably taking the spoils with a solitary goal from George Thomson after 26 minutes.
Just five weeks earlier the Reds had won with a degree of ease against the same opposition at Broadhurst Park by 3-1.
Manager Nicky Law made two changes from the side that had been held to a 3-3 draw at Hednesford seven days earlier, Andi Thanoj replacing Cecil Nyoni in midfield whilst new loan signing Julian Banton edged out Tom Allan in defence.
The Reds started brightly, Dan Bradley’s piercing run after just 30 seconds just eluding Sam Smith as Luke Ashworth headed behind for a corner.
Over the course of the next few minutes Lindon Meikle, Bradley again and Sam Jones all embarked on runs that culminated in shots that went close or were comfortably saved by visiting keeper David Carnell.
United seemed content to soak up the pressure, pouncing with their first constructive attack to take the lead, Thomson firing home from ten yards from a deflected left wing cross.
After that setback Alfreton showed only rare glimpses of their recent form, Joe Leesley firing over from 20 yards from a Jones lay-off before Bradley’s goal-bound shot was blocked by Scott Kay on 38 minutes.
Dale Johnson tested Reds’ keeper Matt Duke with an impromptu volley, the first half concluding with Carnell holding Jones’ shot from a Bradley pull-back.
Thomson should have punished Alfreton further 13 minutes after the break, a dazzling run taking him within 12 yards of the target, but with a clear sight of goal inexplicably blazed high and wide.
Thomson was more accurate with a 70th minute volley that was diverted behind for a corner as the Reds struggled to push forward, Jones though going close before Thanoj fired from 16 yards straight at Carnell.
Jones deserved better with a powerful drive from Ryan Wilson’s 80th minute cross, but Dale Tonge made a late, late hacked clearance virtually on the line, United though almost having the last word with Sam Sheridan firing wide after a swift break by Harry Winter.
Alfreton: Duke; Doyle-Charles (Allan 48), Banton, Jordan, Heaton, Meikle, Leesley (Wilson 77), Thanoj, Bradley, Jones, Smith (Jackson 64).
Other sub: Robertson.
Att: 1087 (452 away).